Sunday, June 30, 2019

How Dengue Fever Could Spread in a Warming World

This would probably be true to a degree IF the globe warms more.

But like most Leftist writing, the story below tells only half the story.  I come from an area in the Australian tropics -- far North Queensland -- where Dengue and Ross river virus are endemic.  So how come neither disease is common in the population there?

Its because of something that the Green/Left routinely ignore: People react to problems.  They don't let problems just go on. And in this case public health measures work pretty well. Local authorities in the tropics react to mosquito-borne virus outbreaks in two ways.

1). They spray bodies of water where mosquitoes breed and thus kill them before they can fly.

2). They mount publicity campaigns to alert people to the dangers of mosquitoes breeding -- so that households too avoid creating conditions where mosquitoes can breed.

Neither strategy is completely sucessful  but it is successful enough.  Despite being born and bred in the tropics I have never had either Dengue or Ross river virus.

So if Dengue does spread to new areas, the control strategies are well known

Climate change is poised to increase the spread of dengue fever, which is common in parts of the world with warmer climates like Brazil and India, a new study warns.

Worldwide each year, there are 100 million cases of dengue infections severe enough to cause symptoms, which may include fever, debilitating joint pain and internal bleeding. There are an estimated 10,000 deaths from dengue — also nicknamed breakbone fever — which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that also spread Zika and chikungunya.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology, found a likelihood for significant expansion of dengue in the southeastern United States, coastal areas of China and Japan, as well as to inland regions of Australia.

Oliver Brady, an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a co-author on the paper, said that the research predicts more people in the United States will be at risk in coming years.

Globally, the study estimated that more than two billion additional people could be at risk for dengue in 2080, compared with 2015 under a warming scenario roughly representative of the world’s current emissions trajectory. That increase largely comes from population growth in areas already at high risk for the disease, as well as the expansion of dengue’s range.

To estimate the future spread of the disease, Dr. Brady and his colleagues took data on mosquito behavior and projections on urbanization (one type of Aedes mosquito that spreads the disease is especially prevalent in cities) and combined them with three different climate scenarios to model what might happen in 2020, 2050 and 2080. Under all three scenarios the spread of dengue increased.

But how much the world warms has a significant impact on the spread of the disease.

The research, Dr. Brady said, “hints at the idea that if we do control emissions better, we could stop or at least limit this kind of spread.”

Warming temperatures help expand dengue’s range because, in part, as it gets warmer mosquitoes can thrive in more places where they couldn’t previously. Warming temperatures also shorten the time it takes a mosquito to become a biting adult and accelerate the time between when a mosquito picks up a disease and is able to pass it on. The study’s predictions were lower in some areas, particularly Europe, than previous studies. Those studies estimated widespread transmission of the disease on the Continent, while Dr. Brady and his colleagues estimated that its spread in the region would be limited to parts of the Iberian Peninsula and parts of the Mediterranean.

Aedes aegypti is particularly concerning, because, while other mosquito species will bite whatever is convenient, Aedes aegypti prefer to bite humans. Much of the Southeast United States used to be home to mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria was a threat until the middle of the 20th century, when a mosquito-eradication campaign eliminated the disease. But that campaign relied heavily on liberal application of the insecticide DDT, which had a host of harmful environmental effects. In 2018, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County announced at least one locally acquired occurrence of dengue.

There are limits to the study, cautioned Andrew Comrie, a professor in the department of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. The paper is a sophisticated use of ecological niche modeling, Dr. Comrie said by email, but it does “not deal with species competition, predation, or potential evolutionary adaptation.” While there is a dengue fever vaccine, it is ineffective for most people. Treatment for the disease focuses on ensuring that the patient gets enough fluids, which can be difficult because of severe nausea and vomiting.

“For a healthy individual dengue is an awful experience that you never forget,” said Josh Idjadi, an associate professor at Eastern Connecticut University who contracted dengue fever in French Polynesia. “For infants and elderly and the infirm, they’re the ones that are going to be at risk.”


California Will Endure Prearranged Power Outages

First World problems in the Golden State are thanks to insane leftist policies.

In California’s last two fire seasons, more than 135 people died, and tens of thousands of homes and businesses were obliterated. This ongoing dynamic has been precipitated by two overriding factors: first, the power lines, conductors, and other equipment of the state’s largest power company, Pacific Gas and Electric, as well as those of other state utility companies, are largely antiquated. Second, years of environmental activism have enabled the largely uncontrolled growth of thousands of acres of dense underbrush and vegetation that can be easily ignited during periods of dry weather or severe winds.

California’s approach to fixing the problem? On May 30, the California Public Utilities Commission gave the green light to PG&E and the other utility companies to cut off electricity — to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers — whenever they deem the fire risk is extremely high.

The reasoning behind this decision was detailed last February, when California’s utility companies filed contingency plans with state regulators in advance of the 2019 wildfire season that began this month. Those plans were submitted after PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection, precipitated by ten of billions of dollars in liability claims from those who bore the brunt of the wildfire devastation. PG&E insisted development in remote areas and climate change were major contributors to wildfires’ severity, but critics asserted the company has not done enough to reduce the risk posed by its equipment. And while the utility stated it will spend as much as $2.3 billion this year to mitigate that risk, the company ultimately admitted that “preventing wildfires outright is likely impossible.”

Thus, PG&E has developed a formula that determines when people will be left without power. As PG&E senior public safety specialist David Hodgkiss explains, “elevated (Tier 2) or extreme (Tier 3)” risk triggering a Red Flag warning will be engendered by humidity below 20%, sustained winds over 25 mph, and winds gusts over 40 mph. Those conditions will be verified by 1,300 weather stations the company plans to install across its customer-service area in central and northern California that serves approximately 40% of the state’s population.

Last October, the utility company implemented what amounts to a trial run of this policy in several small communities in the North Bay and Sierra Foothills. Power was deliberately cut off to nearly 60,000 customers for two days.

Yet as Hodgkiss warns, keeping the power off for only 48 hours may be an optimistic prediction going forward. “Each and every foot of line and piece of conductor needs to be inspected” before restoring it to make sure downed trees or other hazards aren’t impacting power lines, and that some of those inspections take time “especially in a mountainous area,” he explains. “The inspect and patrol is a huge undertaking, but they’ve gotten a lot better at it than last fall. The goal is to complete it within 48 hours and have everything up and running, but that will depend on the event.”

PG&E spokeswoman Alison Talbott was somewhat tone deaf in explaining the company’s position. “Go ahead and be mad at PG&E,” she stated, “but use this as an opportunity to prepare yourself; because an emergency can happen at any time that isn’t fire-related.”

Mad? Fifty-six year old Kallithea Miller isn’t mad. “I could die in my sleep,” said a woman who relies on her refrigerator to keep her insulin cool, as well as a CPAP machine to maintain her breathing during the night. “It’s scaring the hell out of me.”

It should. As Hodgkiss noted, PG&E will “ideally” begin alerting public-safety agencies 48 hours in advance of a blackout, and then begin getting warnings out to the public via social media and news outlets 24 hours prior to an outage.

Ideally? California’s track record of “ideal” (read: wholly inadequate) solutions for real-world problems is the stuff of legend.

Nonetheless, the epicenter of progressive ideology and radical environmentalism must get its act together. After years of neglect, the U.S. Forest Service and the state’s Cal Fire agency are thinning forests, clearing brush, and setting controlled burns on more acres than they have in quite some time. Unsurprisingly, the effort required Gov. Gavin Newsom to exempt such projects from environmental review. The U.S. Forest Service has also announced a plan to “streamline” federal regulations.

Unfortunately, the current effort only marginally addresses the problem. State officials estimate approximately 15 million acres of wilderness need to be overhauled, yet the U.S. Forest Service plans to treat only 220,000 acres, and Cal Fire can only handle 45,000 acres. “We’re not going to solve the problem (right away),” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “But there’s hope of making a difference in the next two decades.”

Two decades? “Power outrages are characteristic of Third World countries,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. “Here in California we are advised to brace for lots of them, given that our antiquated grid apparently contributes to brush fires on hot days. As a native, I do not remember a single instance of our 20th-century state utilities shutting down service in the manner that they now routinely promise.”

Those promises come with a steep price attached. Calistoga is one of the towns that went dark last October. When it did, city officials claim communications with PG&E broke down, leaving them hard-pressed to get vulnerable residents in three mobile-home parks medical attention. In addition, schools closed and hospitals postponed surgeries. At the 18-room Calistoga Inn, power went out in the middle of the dinner rush, and owner Michael Dunsford estimated the lost revenue, combined with cleaning out his refrigerators and issuing refunds to hotel customers, cost him about $15,000.

Yet as columnists Russell Gold and Katherine Blunt reveal, it gets worse. “PG&E said it generally wouldn’t cover losses due to intentional blackouts — regulations don’t require it to — though it would consider claims case-by-case,” they explain. “It declined to say whether it has ever compensated anyone for such claims.”

In short, Californians are on their own. Even the San Francisco Chronicle acknowledges as much. They advise Californians to buy portable generators, solar roof-top panels, or a $6,700 Tesla Powerwall battery — as if ordinary people in the state with the highest income-tax rates in the nation have such disposable income — after they’re finished paying the sixth highest electric bills. State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) has also proposed a bill to fix the problem on the wrong of the equation, with a plan to secure backup systems for those who need power for medical reasons. “The last thing we want to do is have a situation like that hurting people,” Dodd said. “This is all new to everybody.”

This is not new. California has had rolling blackouts for more than two decades. What is new? “No U.S. utility has ever blacked out so many people on purpose,” Gold and Blunt state.

Until now — and for the foreseeable future.


Democratic presidential candidates avoided using the term climate change for more alarming phrases, like “climate chaos,” during Thursday night’s primary debate

“Well, first of all, I don’t even call it climate change, it’s a climate crisis,” Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris said the debate.

“It represents and existential threat to us as a species,” Harris said. “And the fact that we have a president of the United States who has embraced science fiction over science fact will be to our collective peril.”

Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell used the phrase “climate chaos” in his closing debate remarks, echoing language used by environmental activists pushing for aggressive global warming policies. “This is the generation that will end climate chaos.” Swalwell said.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign tweeted out during the debate that “we must combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry.” Sanders, who also partook in the debate, supports the Green New Deal, which calls for a massive government takeover to “green” the economy.

Instead of spending trillions of dollars on misguided wars and weapons of mass destruction, we must combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry. We need a Green New Deal. #DemDebate2 — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 28, 2019

Scientists use climate change or global warming to describe human impacts on global average temperature, not activist talking points. Despite this, two major media outlets changed their editorial policies this year to use “emergency” or “crisis” instead of climate change.


Contrary to Global Warming Predictions, Great Lakes At Record-High Water Levels

Lake MichiganIt is a truism that any observed change in nature will be blamed by some experts on global warming (aka “climate change”, “climate crisis”, “climate emergency”).

When the Great Lakes water levels were unusually low from approximately 2000 through 2012 or so, this was pointed to as evidence that global warming was causing the Great Lakes to dry up.

Take for example this 2012 article from National Geographic, which was accompanied by this startling photo:

The accompanying text called this the “lake bottom” as if Lake Michigan (which averages 279 feet deep) had somehow dried up.

Then in a matter of two years, low lake levels were replaced with high lake levels. The cause (analysis here) was a combination of unusually high precipitation (contrary to global warming theory) and an unusually cold winter that caused the lakes to mostly freeze over, reducing evaporation.

Now, as of this month (June 2019), ALL of the Great Lakes have reached record-high levels.

Time To Change The Story

So, how shall global warming alarmists explain this observational defiance of their predictions?

Simple! They just invoke “climate weirding” and claim that the climate emergency has caused water levels to become more erratic, to see-saw, to become more variable!

The trouble is that there is no good evidence in the last 100 years that this is happening.

This plot of the four major lake systems (Huron and Michigan are at the same level, connected at the Straits of Mackinac) shows no increased variability since levels have been accurately monitored (data from NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory):

This is just one more example of how unscientific many global warming claims have become. Both weather and climate are nonlinear dynamical systems, capable of producing changes without any ‘forcing’ from increasing CO2 or the Sun. Change is normal.

What is abnormal is blaming every change in nature we don’t like on human activities. That’s what happened in medieval times, when witches were blamed for storms, droughts, etc.

One would hope we progressed beyond that mentality.


EcoFascists:  The new totalitarians

Melbourne University’s new vice-chancellor, Duncan Maskell, wants to “reach out” and “build partnerships” with the business sector. It may be harder than he thinks. Potential donors might catch up with what the university’s Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) is advocating. MSSI Director, Professor Brendan Gleeson, has just co-authored with staffer Dr Sam Alexander a book Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary.[1]

The book calls for the overthrow of capitalism en route to a mightily shrunken non–consumerist “eco-socialism”. MSSI cites reviews of the book as a “beacon of hope” for a “a tantalizing and realistic suburban future”, as the authors guide us “through the calamities of the Anthropocene”. MSSI last March also published an update by the Gleeson/Alexander duo, “showcasing new and exciting sustainability knowledge”.[2] The authors respectfully quote Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto of 1848. But they argue for a decarbonised Australia which for radicalism makes Marx and Engels seem mild as maiden aunts:

Attempting to take control of the state may not necessarily be the best way to initiate the transition to a just and sustainable degrowth economy, for even a socialist state may find itself locked into unsustainable growth just as capitalism is.


A revolutionary consciousness must precede the revolution. If governments will not lead this process, it arguably follows that social movements might have to change the world without (at first) taking state power… [3]

The authors note that Australian householders to the 1950s did a lot of backyard food-growing, dress-making and furniture-making, and DIY building:

This ‘urban peasantry’ declined however in the Post-War Boom, as the rise of mass consumer capitalism enabled households to purchase goods previously produced within the household. We contend that any degrowth or post-capitalist transition may well see the re-emergence of an ‘urban peasantry’ in this sense, albeit one shaped by different times and concerns.

The more pain for citizens the better, apparently, to “shake people awake”:

In our view, it is better that citizens are not in fact protected from every disruptive situation, given that encounter with crisis can play an essential consciousness-raising role. (175).

They say,

Ultimately, the solution to crisis is crisis: a massive suspension of capitalism as prelude to a new economic and social dispensation…To liberate human prospect, we must cast down not defend the burning barricades of a dying modernity. (15-16)

They extol Cubans for food production in backyards, turning “crisis into opportunity”. The post-2007 Greek debt crisis also furnishes them insights “into ways of dealing positively with challenging and turbulent times”. I’m surprised they haven‘t also cited socialist Venezuela’s shining example of degrowth. They say that living standards, despite degrowth, can be propped up by voluntary sharing and gifting. But they caution the middle classes that “access to expensive handbags through sharing schemes is not progressive if it merely entrenches consumer culture.”

Richard di Natale’s Green’s Party, they say, “has begun to recognize the need for a post-growth economy, even though it treads very carefully knowing that it must not alienate a voting constituency that is still developing a post-growth consciousness” (180). I don’t think di Natale will thank them for that insight.

In one of the sickening clichés of the Gleeson/Alexander academic style – dating back eight years to Alexander’s Ph.D. thesis — the authors time-travel to 2038 and discover what a success their policies have been (145).[4] Large fossil-fuel companies are nationalized in a near “war time mobilization” and their workers handed a job guarantee in renewables (167).

Graffiti daubers in 2038 instead write inspirational slogans: “Graffiti art sprayed all over Melbourne captured the spirit best: ‘I have a little; you have nothing; therefore, we have a little’” (154). Suburbanites share food from their vegie plots, eschew distant holidays (local trips show “hidden delights” within reach of a borrowed electric car), mend their own clothes, eat vegetarian and fertilise their backyard plots with nutrients from their composting toilets. “As old attitudes die, it is now broadly accepted that a civilized society in an era of water scarcity should not defecate into potable water…” they write (158).

“Tiny houses” on wheels proliferate on idle driveways and spare rooms are opened to boarders. Homesteaders enjoy sewing, baking bread and brewing beer. (Home-brewed cider and port feature in Alexander’s previous yurts-and-jam-jar imaginings). People spend their leisure on “low-impact creative activity like music or art, home-based production, or sport. (164)”. But many sport fields get converted to cropping, which is tough on the likes of AFL fans who initially create “instances of social conflict” until won over by Gleeson and Alexander’s insights (159).

The elderly purr along on electric bikes, and neighborhoods share ‘electric cargo bikes” capable of dropping multiple kids at school. The ‘vast majority’ of city people do some food-growing and bee-keeping in their welcome new roles as “urban peasantry”. They convert train-line verges to chicken and goat farms and former car parks to aquaculture. With so much  physical work, people need less public health care, “freeing up more of the public purse for the energy transition” (160).

The ambience at MSSI hasn’t changed much since I last checked them out four years ago. Those earlier pieces — The joy of yurts and jam-jar glassware, Melbourne Uni’s watermelon patch, and A book without peer — can be read by following the links.

MSSI is now running a whole project on eco-socialism’s “Great Resettlement” of the suburbs after we cut loose from our “fatal addiction” to oil, gas and coal. Just for starters, Gleeson/Alexander are now agitating for a top marginal tax rate of “90 per cent or more”,[5] wealth taxes “to systematically transfer 3 per cent of private wealth [do they mean per annum?] from the richest to the poorest” and estate taxes of 90 per cent or more “to ensure the laws of inheritance and bequest do not create a class system of entrenched wealth and entrenched poverty.” In their view, Australia should give a guaranteed living wage to every permanent resident and a “job guarantee” involving the state as employer of last resort (193-4).

The book says the “working class struggle” (91) should involve, of course, a giant increase in State control for a “wholesale eco-socialist transition” (174). There would be “vastly increased democratic planning and perhaps even some rationing of key resources to ensure distributive equity” (195). State and community banks would monopolise most mortgages and use the profits to fund a guaranteed right to public housing (191), with socialization of property per se likely later down the track (190).

To prepare the masses for this Gleesonian world of degrowth, grassroots education campaigns would get special importance and the arts sector would weave “emotionally convincing” narratives about anti-consumerism (195) – — except maybe for climate tragic Cate Blanchett; her portfolio includes a $6m Sussex mansion.

In the book’s sole flash of common sense, the authors say, “Electric cars are still on the rise, but progress is slow as few households can afford them, and their ecological credentials remain dubious in many respects” (164-65).

You may be wondering about this Sustainable Society Institute. It’s not some rogue element of the campus in a reefer-strewn Carlton hideaway but an interdisciplinary Melbourne University standard-bearer. It has a “diverse and vibrant  Advisory Board of experts, leaders and champions of sustainability.” They include Nobelist Peter Doherty and the president, no less, of the university’s professorial board, Rachel Webster.

Housed in the architecture faculty , it has a staff of 21 including four professors, 6-7 PhDs and 10 administrators. There goes about $3m salaries a year in tax and fees, let alone costs of MSSI delegations to annual UN climate gabfests. MSSI purports to produce high impact publications, post-grad research and public debate – although the only debates there are among green-leftists. MSSI has staff exchanges with Germany’s far-left Potsdam Climate Impact Institute, which has helped lure Germany into a crippling energy shortage.

Check out MSSI’s “diverse and vibrant advisory board of experts, leaders and champions of sustainability.” Chair is Melbourne’s deputy mayor Arron Wood, a graduate of the Climate Leadership program run by globe-trotting, CO2-belching Al Gore. Other members include John Bradley, State Environment Department head and previously CEO of power distributor Energy Networks; and various green group leaders like Katerina Gaita, CEO of “Climate for Change”. She’s a fellow Al Gore graduate and daughter of Romulus My Father author Raimond Gaita with whom she shared the jolliest green family chinwags at the Wheeler Centre

The MSSI board, apart from some vested interests, also bulges with corporate high-flyers of the capitalist imperium targeted for destruction by MSSI. These barons and duchesses of a dying order include Rosemary Bissett, sustainability head of National Australia Bank; Gerard Brown, corporate affairs head of ANZ Bank; and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, strategy manager at Bank Australia. She boasts of leading the campaign to replace Hazelwood power station and stopping another Victorian coal-fired power project going ahead, plus there was her role in the women-in-climate change seminar. Then there’s Adam Fennessy, EY consultancies’ government strategy partner and ex-head of Victoria’s Environment Department. No green lobby would be replete without big emitter Qantas, and MSSI has Megan Flynn, listed as Qantas group environment and carbon strategy manager.[3] Sadly for Qantas, Gleeson’s post-capitalist and climate-friendly world will be a no-fly zone.

Last week Melbourne University’s council and its academics combined to put out an improved free speech policy, not before time as the Institute of Public Affairs audit last year cited some nasty incidents:

Conservative students launched a membership drive and a posse of Melbourne University academics cried ‘Racists!’ and had the conservative students thrown off campus. Former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was shouted down and physically confronted during a guest lecture at the University of Melbourne.

The Gleeson-Alexander “array of revolutionary reforms” includes a scenario “to create (or re-create) a ‘free press’” (p194-5). I hope they don’t have a tax or fee-financed bunyip version of Pravda in mind.

Associate Professor (climate politics) Peter Christoff is a long-time MSSI executive committee member. He’s publicly called for legislation imposing “substantial fines” and “bans” to silence conservative commentators of the Andrew Bolt/Alan Jones ilk. This was a contrast to last week’s university policy to promote “critical and free enquiry, informed intellectual discourse and public debate within the University and in the wider society”. Christoff was addressing a 2012 university seminar aptly titled Law vs Desire: Will Force or Obedience Save the Planet? His draconian sanctions were, as per my transcribing from 20 minutes in,

based on the fact that unchecked climate denialism over time would cause loss of freedom and rights, the death of thousands of humans, the loss of entire cultures, effectively genocide , extinctions…

The legislation to be contemplated might be roughly framed around things like Holocaust Denial legislation which already exists in 17 countries, focused on the criminalisation of those who public condone, deny or trivialise crimes of genocide or crimes against humanity…

“The [fifth] objection [to his proposal] is that this is simply unworkable, inquisitorial, having the perverse effect of increased attraction to banned ideas and their martyrs. It will depend on the application of such law. If it is selective and well focused, with substantial fines and perhaps bans on certain broadcasters and individuals whom I will not name, who stray from the dominant science without any defensible cause, it would have a disciplinary effect on public debate. There still would be plenty of room for peer reviewed scientific revisionism and public debate around it, but the trivial confusion that is being deliberately generated would be done away with, and that is a very important thing at the moment.

His proposal was heard with equanimity by the panel comprising Professor Helen Sullivan, Director of the University’s Centre for Public Policy (introducer); MSSI’s Professor Robyn Eckersley; activist Dave Kerin and Professor of Rhetoric Marianne Constable (University California, Berkeley). The young audience showed no negative reaction. Compere was the university’s Dr Juliet Rogers, now a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. (Her Melbourne Law School PhD was on ‘Fantasies of Female Circumcision: Flesh, Law and Freedom Through Psychoanalysis’).

Professor Sullivan, summing up at 1.54.20, says Christoff’s contribution is useful

“just about how you might start to use the law and possibility of the law, to generate a sense of resistance and generate people out of a passivity. I would not want to think Peter’s contribution was off the point; it is ‘in there’ and may be part of the mix and something we need to be thinking about.”

One of three comments on the youtube seminar page reads: “A highly distinguished, diverse group of intelligent human beings openly discussing hard topics to help humanity navigate our way through these hard times with a sense of justice, democracy and reason.” Another begs to differ: “Just listened here to a group of academic Eco-[authoritarians] who all are embracing the biggest scientific swindle of all time. Fascinating insight into lunatics.”

Christoff and Eckersley in 2014 co-wrote a chapter in the Christoff-edited book “Four Degrees of Global Warming, Australia in a Hot World”.[6] They reached the following “Conclusion” (p201):

 The American political scientist Chalmers Johnston called 9/11 and the continuing War on Terror ‘blowback’, caused by United States’ imperial foreign and defence policies from the 1950s to the start of the century. If we do realise a Four Degree World…we will have cause to call the results for Australia ‘climate’ blowback or ‘carbon’ blowback.

It seems disrespectful to 3000 murdered Americans to suggest that the attack was America’s fault, or “blowback”.

Here’s more Gleeson/Alexander book extracts, free speech indeed (Trigger warning for snowflakes):

# “A massive, disruptive adjustment to the human world is inevitable. The next world is already dawning. Humanity will surely survive to see it…capitalism will not…it will collapse under the weight of its internal contradictions. (15)

# Their recipe for suburban reform is for “radicals and progressives – indeed all who experience a sense of care and responsibility for viable human futures – to loudly indict a dying but still lethal capitalism for its crimes against human and natural prospects.” (204)

# Eco-warrior David Holmgren, writing in the book’s Foreword: “The global economy is a Ponzi scheme of fake wealth that will inevitably follow the trajectory of previous bubbles in the history of capitalism – but this time, the tightening grip of resource depletion and other limits will make this boom cycle the final one for global capitalism.’ Holmgren says he found the Mad Max movie the “primary intellectual reference point” about the energy-scarce future. (vi)

The co-authors argue that we should not “callously close borders”, as we need to take in not just (so far mythical) climate refugees but invite the world’s poor in general for reasons of “solidarity and compassion”.

“We must oppose the tide of scapegoat racism that seems to be driving the wave of populist nationalism that today calls for the closing of borders at a time when we must be opening our hearts” (18-19).

Concurrently, somehow, the state should enforce constantly reducing resource availability, such as 3 per cent a year, to ensure degrowth plus justice and sustainability (184).

They quote Slavoj Zizek, their oft-cited Slovenian philosopher, describing the capitalist economy as “a beast that can not be controlled”. It must, however, be brought to heel before it propels humanity, and all we presume to govern, into the abyss, they add (9). Zizek is a particularly odd fish.[7]

Their war-cry: “We should raise an infernal racket about the narcosis that has settled in the dying hours of capitalism. Sleepers awake! We have the right to imagine and create a more enlightened world. To work…in the suburbs, now.” (205-6)

Back in the real world, bike and vegetable-friendly co-author Alexander, who lives gas-free, says he has draped his home with solar panels to  produce six times more electricity than he draws from the grid (1kWh per person per day). His annual bill is zero. “None of this has required wearing hairshirts of living in a cave without lights,” he says (120), overlooking how much his free electricity is subsidized by taxpayers, renters and non-solar householders.

Maybe the authors will win the 2020 economics Nobel with their proposal for suburban currencies.[8] Puckle Street forex traders ought to give my Flemington dollars a good rate against their Moonee Ponds buck.

I’ve visited some nice universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Chicago, Bologna and Padua. But maybe tourists should give Melbourne University’s Sustainability Institute a miss — unless, like visitors to Hogarth’s Bedlam, they enjoy observing lunatics going about their strange business.



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Friday, June 28, 2019

UN report on global warming warns of "climate apartheid" between rich and poor

This is all perfectly logical if we assume that a couple of degrees warming is going to affect anything much.  But will it? The population outside the tropics are not be going to be bothered by a couple of degrees warming.

People in the tropics already live in temperatures way above the global average so why should people in more temperate climes experience difficulty with a slightly warmer environment?

The very hottest territories may experience out-movement but that is a problem for their neighbors only.  There is no reason to expect any significant global effect

The UN has published a new report detailing the dangers of climate change, with a particular focus on how it will shape the issue of poverty in the coming decades. It paints a grim picture for not just those suffering in the current day, but the millions upon millions that will be pushed into poverty as a result of a changing climate, which also has the potential to upend democracy and human rights.

The new report echoes the sentiments of past climate reports published by the UN, calling on governments to do more than the steps laid out in the Paris Agreement in order to limit warming to levels considered safe. These have highlighted the issues of climate refugees, diminishing natural resources and extreme weather events, but the latest puts the spotlight on inequality between rich and poor, and how global warming threatens to widen the divide.

"Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger," said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and report author Philip Alston. "Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction. It could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work."

The report leans on figures from the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change among others, and in part imagines a world a few decades down the track with 2° C (3.6° F) of warming above pre-industrial levels. It says this could see 100 to 400 million more people at risk of hunger and 1 to 2 billion without access to adequate water. Crop yields could drop by 30 percent by 2080, while malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress could cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year by 2030.

It also points out the discrepancies in carbon emissions coming from the poor, who will suffer the most, and the wealthy, who will suffer less. The 3.5 billion people making up the poorer half of the world's population are responsible for only 10 percent of these emissions, while the wealthiest 10 percent contribute half. Strikingly, a person in the richest one percent is responsible for 175 times more carbon emissions than somebody in the bottom 10 percent.

"Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves," Alston said. "We risk a 'climate apartheid' scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer."

Equally important as the issues of food security, housing and water, the report says, is the threat to democracy and the rule of law. It says the anticipated mass migrations of people forced to either starve or move will "pose immense and unprecedented challenges to governance" and likely stimulate "nationalist, xenophobic, racist and other responses."

"In such a setting, civil and political rights will be highly vulnerable," Alston said. "Most human rights bodies have barely begun to grapple with what climate change portends for human rights, and it remains one on a long laundry list of 'issues', despite the extraordinarily short time to avoid catastrophic consequences. As a full-blown crisis that threatens the human rights of vast numbers of people bears down, the usual piecemeal, issue-by-issue human rights methodology is woefully insufficient."


G20 members at odds over climate change for summit meeting - sources

G20 negotiators are wrangling over the wording of a summit communique on combatting climate change, with the United States pushing to downgrade the language against European opposition, according to sources and drafts of the text.

The arguments are a reprise of tussles over global warming that have stymied talks in multilateral forums since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark agreement to limit the effects of climate change.

The latest draft, seen by Reuters, includes language supporting implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and saying the accord signed by 200 nations is "irreversible".

An earlier draft, also seen by Reuters, did not include such language at the insistence of the United States, two sources familiar with the discussions over the communique told Reuters.

Further changes to the communique are likely before the final adoption of the text on Saturday by Group of 20 leaders in Osaka for this week's summit, but the inclusion of stronger language came as French President Emmanuel Macron said France will not accept a text that does not mention the Paris agreement.

"If we don't talk about the Paris Agreement and if we don't get an agreement on it amongst the 20 members in the room, we are no longer capable of defending our climate change goals and France will not be part of this," he said in Tokyo on Wednesday before heading to Osaka.

France was one of the main drivers behind the Paris accord and the French parliament is now debating an energy bill that targets net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Negotiations on the topic of climate will be especially difficult this time," a German government official said on Wednesday.

Nations in Paris agreed to limit the global average rise from pre-industrial temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Current policies, though, put the world on track for at least a 3C rise by the end of the century, according to a United Nations report in 2016.

Investors managing more than $34 trillion (26.8 trillion pounds) in assets, nearly half the world's invested capital, piled pressure on G20 leaders on Wednesday, demanding urgent action from governments on climate change.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday also urged G20 countries to back more ambitious climate goals, among other international initiatives.

Summit host Japan has been criticized for backing the continued use of coal for power generation, one of the biggest sources of gas emissions that cause global warming.


California Air Resources Board Evades Public Oversight

California taxpayers have long been aware that politicians and bureaucrats need watching. Accordingly, the 1967 Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act implements a provision of the California Constitution declaring that “the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.” The Act also mandates open meetings for state agencies, board, and commissions, but this mandate does not always prevail. As Katy Grimes of the California Globe reports, the Omnibus Resources Trailer Bill for 2019-20 contains language exempting a commission of the California Air Resources Board and CalEPA from the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act. And as Grimes notes “this isn’t the first time the ARB has found itself exempted from the Open Meetings Act.”

In 2012, CARB boss Mary Nichols teamed with Assembly Speaker John Perez to exempt the ARB from the open meetings act. Senate Bill 2018 “specifically exempted CARB from open meeting rules in upcoming cap-and-trade auctions, allowing CARB’s Western Climate Initiative, Inc. to manage carbon trading auctions without any public scrutiny.”

As it happens, Mary Nichols is a lawyer, not a scientist, and has never seen a regulation she didn’t like. She left CARB in 1983 and ran Tom Bradley’s gubernatorial campaign in 1986. Bradley lost and Nichols became director of Norman Lear’s People for the American Way and founded the Los Angeles office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she served as a senior attorney. During the Clinton administration, Nichols worked for the federal EPA as Assistant Administrator of Air and Radiation, followed by a stint with the Environment Now Foundation.

Nichols returned to CARB in 2007 at the request of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Nichols championed AB 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act,” with a host of new regulations and restrictions. Gov. Jerry Brown reappointed Nichols in 2011, and on her watch CARB operates with a budget of more than $860 million. That is a lot of power for a regulatory zealot who never has to face the voters and seeks to keep her mammoth agency off-limits to public scrutiny. Whatever Nichols is trying to hide can’t be good for California taxpayers.


Wind And Solar Are Already Costing You Money (And You May Not Even Know It)

It is a safe argument that once we quarry the cement required, mine and refine the steel and aluminum, and dig up the rare earth minerals that every wind turbine requires, Industrial Wind Turbines cannot even be considered green.

Yet at least 23 states require that their electric utilities obtain some portion of the electricity they sell from renewable sources. In all cases in our nation, they mean wind and solar farms.

In most cases this energy costs at least three times more than conventional fossil fuel power plants.

Were they not subsidized by the Federal government (your taxes) and often state subsidies for these sources of power, they would cost 6 to 7 times more than natural gas and coal. When wind and solar costs are folded into your electricity bill, it is raised considerably for most Americans.

The argument in favor of these state-enforced Renewable Energy Standards is that they encourage competition with fossil fuel power plants.

This is actually the equivalent of forcing people to eat in an expensive restaurant when they could get a fine meal at a mid-priced family restaurant; the government will pick up part of the bill at the expensive restaurant making it only 50% more expensive instead of twice the price.

It is helpful to understand where America gets its energy. The United States Energy Information Agency is happy to oblige us with the data.

Natural gas plants supply 34% of our electricity, coal plants 30%, hydroelectric power plants supply 7%, nuclear power plants supply 20%, and as stated above, 6% is from wind and solar installations.

Where every single one of these installations exists energy to your home cost more than it would without it.

The homeowner must pay the price for the government’s belief that it is doing something beneficial for the environment or the Earth’s temperature.

Well speaking of competition, let’s assume that carbon dioxide does have a role in determining the temperature of our planet. Then let’s look at the other known factors that impact our planet’s temperature.

They include reflectivity of dark earth as compared to snow; evaporation of water; condensation; reflectivity of clouds; Infrared Radiation by water; methane content of air; other greenhouse gases; gross movement of air; deep ocean currents; salinity of the oceans; deforestation; crop growth; cities; volcanoes; highways; strength of the Earth’s magnetic field; strength of the sun’s magnetic field; solar storms; solar ultra-violet light; cosmic rays; the solar wind; the location of the earth within our galaxy, the Milky Way; cloud cover leading to warmer nights.

This is just a partial list. Do we have your attention yet?

Is there any doubt that all these factors are important? The real secret is that the best climatologists do not thoroughly understand them.

Our government is willing to force you to pay more for your energy on their wrongheaded knowledge of a single variable, carbon dioxide. This writer believes it is not even remotely involved in the planet’s thermostat.

All of the increases in living expenses associated with renewable energy are a disproportionate toll on low-income families.

The term ‘energy poor’ has arisen to describe households forced to spend more than 10% of their income to cover energy costs.

In the US, the government subsidizes all home solar installations so those who do not install them are paying their tax money to those who do.

The only winner in the renewable energy sweepstakes is Big Government. Under the guise of ‘saving the planet’, governments are now in a position where they can micromanage entire economies.

The socialist movement paints a picture of a utopian future in which a benevolent and infallible government oversees all aspects of energy and the economy.

Hopefully, most of us will recognize the absurdity of such a failed political philosophy before it is too late.


How to Create a Country with no Heart

By Viv Forbes

What happened to Australia's once-bipartisan policies favouring decentralisation? Why is every proposal to develop an outback mine, dam, irrigation scheme or a real power station now labelled "controversial" by the ABC and opposed by the ALP/Greens?

This coastal-city focus and the hostility to new outback industry (except for wind/solar toys) has surely reached its zenith with the recent state budget for Queensland.

The population of coastal and metropolitan Queensland is surging with baby-boom retirees, welfare recipients, grey nomads, tourists, overseas students, migrants and winter refugees. But the outback is dying with lagging industry and many aging farmers retiring to the coast. We are creating a country with no heart.

The growing urban and seaside population needs power, water and food.

However two critical power-water-food infrastructure projects that have been on the drawing boards for decades did not even rate a mention in the state budget - an expansion of coal-fired power at Kogan Creek and a water supply dam at Nathan Gorge.

The current policy of all major parties is cluttering the countryside with piddling subsidised intermittent power producers like solar panels and wind turbines plus their expensive network of roads and transmission lines. This is inflating electricity prices, and future generations will see this bi-partisan energy policy as a disastrous blunder. It is also a mistake to encourage or subsidise private electricity cartels and put politicians, not engineers, in charge of power generation.

The Kogan Creek power station with its adjacent coal mine was opened in 2007. It is connected to the National Grid and integrated with local gas-fired and solar supplies. It was always planned to add another generating unit at Kogan Creek, but twelve long years have passed with no action.

Kogan Creek is crucial to maintaining a stable power supply to eastern Australia. This was demonstrated recently when a fault temporarily shut down Kogan Creek. The National Grid was barely maintained for about 30 minutes by the battery in SA until other base load generators could be started. With the likely 7 month closure of one damaged generating unit at Loy Yang power station, East Australian electricity supplies are now even more precarious.

Moreover, with the complete failure of the $105M Kogan solar booster and delays to other solar plants in this area which were to be connected to the grid, the duplication of Kogan Creek is urgently needed.

Coal produces reliable low-cost electricity from a concentrated area with less real environmental damage than gas, wind or solar. These low density energy sources need much more land to collect equivalent continuous energy from a wide area of bores, pipelines, turbines and solar collectors plus their backup generators, connecting roads and transmission lines.

Most CSG wells also need to pump salt water from each bore before the gas will flow. Even if costly processes are used to extract fresh water from this salt water, brines are left behind and must be stored safely. This evil-genie of salt should be left in its underground lair and disturbed as little as possible.

It is becoming clear that that CO2 does NOT drive global warming. Even if it did, when careful life-of-project studies are done for all of Qld energy sources, coal and hydro look likely to have the lowest carbon footprint with the least environmental harm (and they do not slice, dice or fry birds and bats).

The surface disruption from an open cut coal mine is 100% and it shocks the senses. However, it recovers 100% of concentrated energy from a small area of land - far less than is permanently sterilised by roads and schools, and there is no intention of restoring them. Even if the open cut was abandoned at the end of mine life, slow but relentless natural healing would immediately start. However, instead of treating the final void as an expensive liability to be refilled with overburden, it should be seen as an asset to be contoured as a pleasant lake or used for burial of the growing mountains of urban waste.

The need to conserve more water is also urgent. Nathan Gorge has been known as an ideal dam site for 50 years, but still nothing is done. The site and catchment make it likely to be a high-yielding, cost-efficient dam. It is vital to the continuing development of the Surat and southern Bowen Basins and its water could be used for irrigation, power generation or fed into the Condamine/Darling River in droughts.

Kogan and Nathan are decentralising projects that could provide community insurance for blackouts, floods and droughts.

It is the outback that produces most of Australia's food, minerals, energy, water, exports and jobs. And it produces serious income for state governments addicted to ever-rising taxes and royalties.

Anti-development policies, land-use sterilisation, climate alarmism and green law-fare are destroying the future for our kids and grandkids. Current policies will stack-and-pack the coasts and major cities leaving a depopulated outback to uncontrolled floods and droughts, lantana and woody-weeds, wild cats and dogs, wild fires, feral pigs and the occasional park ranger or tourist bus.



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


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Eliminating fossil fuels would risk a descent into darkness

Inventiveness plus boldness equals progress. Liberal “activists” who want to revolutionize the nation’s energy resources demonstrate political moxie, but if their campaign to substitute renewable sources for fossil fuels — oil and gas — succeeds it will take more than happy thoughts to keep the lights on.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, pledges to donate $500 million to a campaign to shutter the nation’s remaining coal-fired power plants by 2030. The billionaire told the Class of ‘19 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology the other day that his Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with the Sierra Club, played a role in closing 289 coal-fired plants — half of the nation’s existing power plants — since 2011. He says he’ll try to pull the plug on the rest, all to save the planet from the changing climate.

“Building on the success of the Beyond Coal campaign, I’m committing $500 million to launch @BeyondCarbon the largest-ever coordinated campaign to tackle the worst climate crisis our country has ever seen, Mr. Bloomberg tweeted last week. “This is the fight of our time.” The money will be spent primarily on funding environmental organizations adept at lobbying government officials to go “green.” He aims to take out clean-burning natural gas power plants as well. “By the time they are built, they’ll be out of date because renewable will be cheaper,” he told the graduates.

The sometime Democrat joins other party notables in their quixotic crusade to rid the world of fossil fuels, thus avoiding the combustion that climate alarmists contend produces global warming. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $30 trillion Green New Deal, Joe Biden’s $5 trillion Clean Energy Revolution, Jay Inslee’s $3 trillion Global Climate Mobilization dream of a world powered by windmills, solar panels and other carbon-free technologies, all in hopes of preventing the thermometer from rising a fraction of a degree by the year 2100.

You don’t need a degree in advanced mathematics from MIT to see that the numbers don’t add up. Despite a generation of obsession with climate issues, most U.S. electricity is still generated by fossil fuels. Natural gas produces 35.1 percent of the kilowattage, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and coal is responsible for 27.4 percent.

In contrast, all the sunshine, windmills and waterwheels that climate fanatics are banking on to keep wheels of progress turning, generate only 17.1 percent of the nation’s electricity. About 7 percent comes from water over the dams. Wind and solar contribute 6.6 percent and 1.6 percent. The fossils generate the rest.

If fossil-fuel power plants are to go the way of the clipper ships over the next decade, something must replace them. Going solely solar would require installing solar panels over an area of land nearly the size of West Virginia. Generating just 20 percent of U.S. energy needs from wind would require mounting turbines on an area encompassing land the size of New Hampshire and Vermont. About 900 hydroelectric plants were demolished between 1990 and 2015 owing to opposition from environmentalists outraged by harm to fish ecosystems. Nuclear plants would get similarly rough treatment at the hands of fanatics frightened by the prospect of nuclear power.

Solar and wind power flit across the landscape intermittently, requiring an alternate source, like coal or gas, to make electricity when nature takes a break. Environmentally friendly Europeans find that a lack of reliable backup when nature takes that break increases the risk of electrical grid failures. German engineering, as good as it is, has not been able to eliminate the effect of “green” politics, which would replace fossil and nuclear power with renewables. The result is 172,000 localized blackouts in Germany in 2017.

Poverty was a constant companion of humanity until modern times. The proportion of people worldwide living in poverty was cut in half between 1990 and 2010, according to the World Bank, an achievement unprecedented in human history. It was the result of a rapid boost in global energy production — up 43 percent during that period, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Nearly 81 percent of that power was generated by fossil fuels, such as oil and gas.

A billion people around the globe still suffer extreme energy poverty, with no access to electricity. Everyone gets a hint of what that means when storms knock out the power, and everything in the house stops. Fumbling occasionally for candles is a mere inconvenience, but life beyond carbon — entirely dependent on sunshine and a breeze — would be insanity.


Polar Bear Numbers Could Have Quadrupled

Researcher says attempts to silence her have failed

Polar bear numbers could easily exceed 40,000, up from a low point of 10,000 or fewer in the 1960s.

In The Polar Bear Catastrophe that Never Happened, a book published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Dr Susan Crockford uses the latest data as well as revisiting some of the absurd values used in official estimates, and concludes that polar bears are actually thriving:

My scientific estimates make perfect sense and they tally with what the Inuit and other Arctic residents are seeing on the ground. Almost everywhere polar bears come into contact with people, they are much more common than they used to be. It’s a wonderful conservation success story.”

Crockford also describes how, despite the good news, polar bear specialists have consistently tried to low-ball polar bear population figures.

They have also engaged in a relentless smear campaign in an attempt to silence her in order to protect the story of a polar bear catastrophe, and the funding that comes with it.

A few unscrupulous people have been trying to destroy my reputation”, she says. “But the facts are against them, and they have failed”.


Those who believe in the existence of adequate non-fossil alternatives essential to achieve a “carbon-neutral” U.S. — much less global — energy balance anytime soon, or at any cost, are dreadfully misguided

Nevertheless, there are very understandable reasons why such delusions continue to persist.

One reason behind this facetious fantasy has resulted from massively funded “renewable energy” industry subsidy-seeking propaganda campaigns.

Another is due to great successes of ideological anti-fossil activists in conflating carbon dioxide emissions with “climate pollution,” polar bear perils, and virtually any other “crisis” de jour.

A third, and one that I find particularly disturbing, is because even information sources we should expect to trust, continue to perpetuate a disingenuous and dangerous myth that non-fossil “alternatives” can meet any truly significant U.S. energy needs.

In preparing for this article, I checked data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) with a very basic question. I simply wanted to confirm exactly how much U.S. energy is supplied by wind and solar systems.

The stock answer I got back was that we get “11% of our electricity from renewable sources.”

But that wasn’t what I asked.

Rather, I wanted to know how much total energy (always measured in BTUs) comes from wind and solar, respectively, (not just electricity which constitutes only 37 percent of total energy consumption.)

I also hadn’t asked about “renewables,” of which wind and solar are relative bit players within that 11 percent of 37 percent.

Determined digging unearthed some well-buried facts that are important to know about.

First, 80 percent of all U.S. energy comes from fossil sources, with another 8.6 percent contributed by nuclear. Of that remaining “renewable” 11 percent, nearly half (a whopping 45 percent) comes from CO2-emitting biofuels.

While wind reportedly accounts for only 2.4 percent of total U.S. energy, I believe that even this paltry amount exaggeratedly conflates energy payed for through preferential production tax credit subsidies versus energy consumed to meet actual demands.

Having offered this caveat, wind is still credited with providing a relatively piddling 21.3 percent of the 11% total renewable contributions.

In comparison, hydropower — a true renewable and reliable source that environmental activists love to hate, produces, more than wind (25.1 percent) and releases no CO2.

Solar energy is even more anemic than wind, providing 6 percent of renewable sources, less than 1 percent of total U.S. energy.

Wind and solar are not only pitifully puny sources, they are also enormously costly and unreliable.

A dirty little secret is what the wind industry refers to “generating capacities” which are typically nowhere close to the best-case 10-15% average total outputs we might actually expect to get.

Building more will place them in increasingly marginal and worse wind sites.

Intermittent utility-scale wind and solar power won’t ever replace fossil and hydropower. This is because balancing out the power grids on a second-to-second basis requires an equal and reliable amount of spinning reserve power that’s immediately available to kick in when the wind isn’t blowing or clouds cover the Sun.

Most often these spinning reserves are provided by coal or natural gas-fueled turbines operated in the most inefficient way possible. Balancing a grid, requires repeatedly cranking up — throttling down — a turbine; much like driving a car in stop-and-go traffic.

Also consider that constructing a two-megawatt wind turbine requires about 260 tons of steel which, in turn, requires about 300 tons of iron ore processed by about 170 tons of coking coal which is transported by fossil fuel. It will never generate as much energy payback during its short 15-year or less operating lifetime as was invested in building it.

Nevertheless, don’t expect any of these painful realities to be factored into competing liberal green electioneering fantasies.

Leading presidential energy free lunch candidate Joe Biden has proposed a sweeping “Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.”

As sample goals, on his first day in office, Biden will ask Congress to pass an “enforcement mechanism” requiring “clear legally-binding emission reductions” aimed at attaining net zero-carbon emissions by 2050.

As president, Biden will establish “a target of reducing the carbon footprint of U.S. buildings 50 percent by 2035.” The federal government will apply zoning “as a tool to battle climate change” by altering local regulations to eliminate urban sprawl by forcing more people to live closer to public transportation.

A President Biden would ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, as well as conserve 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

Rigorous Biden fuel economy standards will ensure that all future light- and- medium-duty vehicles are electrified, and taxpayers will also finance a half-million charging outlets by the end of 2030.

Be assured that those ubiquitous charging stations — and most particularly the ignorance behind them — would wind up charging the nation and public a whole lot more than we can possibly imagine.


Oregon GOP Won’t Return Until Expensive Carbon Tax Bill Is Scrapped

One of the runaway Oregon Republican senators said they won’t return to the state until the “inefficient, complicated, and expensive” carbon tax is scrapped and a bipartisan solution is found.

Oregon State Senator Tim Knopp appeared on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning from an undisclosed location as he and other 11 Republicans remain in hiding to block the looming climate change legislation – all while the state police were authorized by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown to round them up.

He said that the Republican walkout was warranted given the damage the legislation would inflict upon the people of Oregon but stressed that they too want to combat climate change.

“We do want to take action on climate change but this was a carbon tax and one of the most inefficient, complicated, and expensive ways to address [the reduction of] carbon dioxide emissions.”

“All we’re saying is it shouldn’t cost thousands of manufacturing jobs, raise the gas tax by 20 cents a gallon to start out with, and raise natural gas prices for people who heat their home by almost 50 percent. We think there’s a better way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and so we’re holding out and the only way we could do that and stop this vote is by not providing a quorum for Democrats to roll over us,” he added.

The bill would limit greenhouse gas emissions and auction pollution allowances for carbon that businesses want to emit, with a lowering cap.

The bill would reduce emissions to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80 percent by 2050. Critics say it will hurt the business community and exacerbate a divide between the liberal, urban areas and rural parts of the state.

Knopp confirmed that the state police is indeed after the runaway Republicans, with the police superintendent being “firm” on him in asking for his return.

“I politely declined his offer and he indicated that at any time he would be prepared to facilitate my return to the capital,” the lawmaker said.

The state senator said that the bill the Democrats are pushing for doesn’t address the real sources of carbon emissions, including the forest fires that are ruining the state, and the fact that people in Republican districts are opposed to it.

“When you tell them what it actually does and not just go with talking points about it being clean energy jobs, people are very opposed to it, and statewide I think they would be too. One of the things we’ve said is, if you’re so confident that people want this, let’s refer it to the people of Oregon, let’s let them debate it and let’s let them vote on it which we have that process here in Oregon,” he said.

If Oregon adopts the legislation, it would be the second state after California to adopt such a policy, raising questions whether the legislation is more beneficial to the state of California rather than Oregon.

“The state of California needs more carbon credits and so really this is a great deal for the state of California, not so great of a deal for Oregon and small businesses and the people who get their livelihood,” Knopp said.

“There’s a factory that makes paper towels … with 2,000 blue collar jobs, union jobs, and that plant right now is at risk because of this bill and we just find that unacceptable and we’re going to stand with these people, and fight as long as we possibly can and we hope to win,” he added, noting that they are likely to remain in hiding until June 30th at midnight, the date when the legislative session constitutionally ends.


City of Sydney climate debate a microcosm of political decline

Chris Kenny

We have shrunk from a lively public square as a clearing house for the issues of the day into darkened silos of hate-filled barbs, cultivated on social media and thrown into a new public debate that doesn't so much seek to win contests over ideas but to shout down, silence and demonise opponents.

A little example of how sad this has become played out this week in the Sydney City Council where a motion was passed declaring a climate emergency in the NSW capital. The Sydney councillors happily took to the Town Hall steps displaying a "climate emergency" banner and waving flags - apparently sharing their delight about drawing attention to our impending doom.

The motion they passed was nonsensical and alarmist. It accused a federal government committed to the Paris climate targets of presiding over a "climate disaster" and warned of heatwaves and rising sea levels creating chaos in the Pacific as it declared an official "climate emergency" in concert with other activist groups and organisations worldwide.

A Liberal Party councillor, Craig Chung, pointed out how ludicrous the motion was and tried to amend it. When his amendments were rejected, he voted for the motion regardless. On Sky News' The Kenny Report yesterday I asked him why.

"The language is absurd, this was the fundamentalist Clover (Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore) at her best, using alarmist language and warning us that the world is going to end," Chung said.

"The reality is that I'm a Liberal councillor in the city of Sydney, the majority of the seats are taken up by the Clover climate fundamentalists and while the language that she uses is completely alarmist and is completely catastrophising what is going on, some of the contents of that motion are things that we really need to address, and if I want to sit at the table, if I want to be there taking part in the policy debate, I've got to get a seat at the table."

This seemed worrying; Chung knew the motion was ill-founded but went along it all the same. It sounded like he was dragooned into it. It seemed inappropriate for him to support a motion he knew was nonsensical just to fit in.

"This Left group, they love to preach the idea of free speech and being inclusive," Chung explained, "but I tell you what the moment you don't get involved in their motions and the moment you cut yourself out, you get called all sorts of names, last night I was called a flat-earther and a coal lugger despite the fact I do think we need to take some action.

"The gallery was full of people, Clover supporters, all of these people who were absolutely jeering me and cheering Clover. I moved an amendment, that was absolutely jeered by the gallery there, an amendment that took out the language of the warnings and catastrophising and moved an amendment that said we need to do this and we need to do it rationally and calmly. But that was voted down unanimously.

"We're not talking just about the Clover Moore people, we are talking about the Labor Left rump that are there as well, these are people who absolutely don't want to hear from anybody else."

Chung should be strong enough to stand up to this sort of political grandstanding and argue and vote for what he believes is right. But however courageous or timid he might be, it can be no excuse for his opponents.

"That's the way the city of Sydney runs, that's the way Clover Moore runs business there, this is a closed shop for Clover Moore. This is about her preaching to her choir, about getting a headline, but actually offering no solutions," Chung said.

So this councillor voted for a motion that condemns the federal government for doing nothing (something Chung knows is false) and spreads alarmist fearmongering (something Chung abhors).

"I know that some people will criticise me for (supporting the motion) but at the same time, if I don't do that I'm never going to get a seat at the table, I'm just going to have slogans thrown at me and abuse thrown at me, I need to be able to stay at that table to maintain a rational debate."

Nobody should give in to bullies, it only encourages them. But I fear this pointless debate in Sydney's Town Hall tells us much about the deterioration of our national political discussion.



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


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How Warm And Cold Periods Correlate With Solar Activity, Not CO2 Levels

The climate of the Earth has been constantly changing during its entire 4.6-billion-year history. Variations in our planet’s average temperature due to natural causes have ranged over a span of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most of the periodic temperature increases and decreases observed in human history are consistent with variations in the output of energy from our Sun.

The mild heating and cooling periods seen since 1900 (each less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit) reflect changes in solar activity. The temperature of the Earth has never been constant.

Continental positions determine the distribution and circulation of heat on Earth and have a major impact on our planet’s long term climate.

As little as 70 years ago if a child or adult made note of the fact that our current continents could be fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle, they were laughed at; but in the1950s scientists proved that our continents had historically resided in different places on the globe.

Sometimes the continents were near the equator, sometimes near the poles, sometimes they merged into a single land mass.

The largest changes take place over time periods of 20 to 100 million years. These changes, both gradual and catastrophic are associated with continental motions due to plate tectonics or continental drift.

Periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit also influence how energy that the Earth receives from the sun is distributed, resulting in our current era of recurring Ice Ages.

The Earth is now experiencing the high-temperature end of the latest Ice Age cycle. Both deep-sea sediment and ice core samples show that ice ages take place every 22,000 years.

The Earth’s axis wobbles around a tilt angle of zero degrees in a cycle that requires 22,000 years to complete. At one end of the cycle the North Pole faces the Sun in the winter, while at the other end, the North Pole faces the Sun in the summer.

The tilt angle relative to the sun also varies over a 41,000-year cycle. The annual orbit of the Earth around the Sun cycles between circular and elliptical every 100,000 years.

These are called Milankovitch cycles for the Serbian scientist who discovered them a century ago. Man’s presence and activities are insignificant compared to natural cycles.

Most of the warming and cooling trends observed during human history operate on time scales of a ten to a thousand years resulting in temperature shifts spanning a range of about seven degrees Fahrenheit.

They arise from changes in the output of energy and radiation from our Sun, according to long-term and short-term cycles of solar activity.

These cycles, have been documented using the recorded history of sunspots, aurora observations, radio-carbon dating techniques, and changes in solar radiance.

Changes in solar activity affect the stream of electrons, protons, and alpha particles emitted by the Sun which are called the solar wind.

These changes have been observable in the form of auroras and more recently in the disruption of radio communications and electromagnetic devices.

Changes in average global temperature since 1900 are much more consistent with oscillations in solar activity and the average amount of energy that we receive from the sun than they are with the exponential increase in fossil fuel emissions.

The Earth’s temperature increased from 1880 to 1935 as the Little Ice Age ended. It decreased from 1935 to 1980 and increased from 1980 to 1990 and has since leveled off.

Temperatures did not continuously and dramatically increase to mirror the increasing CO2 emissions.


World’s 76 Best Tide Gauges Show ‘Negligible’ Sea Level Rise

A new scientific paper affirms “all the long-term-trend (LTT) tide gauges of the world consistently show a negligible acceleration since the time they started recording in the late 1800s/early 1900s” and there is “no sign of climate models predicted sharply warming and accelerating sea level rise.”

An accurate determination of sea level rise acceleration trends requires at least 100 years of data due to the natural (60- to 80-year) oscillations that could bias the results depending on the start and end dates.

There are 88 world tide gauges with a record length of at least 100 years in the database. Of those, 76 have no data quality issues.

The average rate of sea level rise for these 76 global-scale tide gauges is just 0.337 millimeters per year (mm/yr), and the acceleration is a “negligible” 0.007 mm/yr².

Thus, the average rate of sea level rise for the world’s best long-term-trend (LTT) tide gauges amounts to about 3½ centimeters per century.

Further, the relatively high (2 to 3 mm/yr) local rates of sea level rise in the studied region (the Mexican Caribbean) were determined to be primarily associated with land subsidence.

This affirms the conclusion (Piecuch et al., 2018) that geological processes, or vertical land motions, are more influential than climate-related processes in establishing local relative sea level trends.

These results once again serve to undermine the model-based claims that the world’s seas are sharply rising and accelerating due to CO2-induced global warming.


EU Drops Climate Change to a Mere Footnote at Summit

A push by most European Union nations for the world’s biggest economic bloc to go carbon-neutral by 2050 was dropped to a footnote at a summit on Thursday after fierce resistance from Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

France and Germany had led efforts for the 28-member EU to lead by example in setting an ambitious new climate goal ahead of U.N. climate talks in September that U.S. President Donald Trump has abandoned.

But unanimity was needed, and last-ditch persuasion efforts in what diplomats described as “impassioned” talks that dragged on for four hours failed to ease fears among the central and eastern European states, including Estonia, that it would hurt economies like theirs dependent on nuclear power and coal.

EU leaders called on the European Investment Bank (EIB) to increase climate funding and acknowledged vast differences in the continent’s energy mix, but Poland remained unmoved.

“We need concrete things on the table,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. “What additional money could be allotted to Poland so that we do not end up in an offside trap?”

In an unusual move that nevertheless sends a strong signal to businesses, 24 of the EU leaders chose instead to reflect support for the mid-century goal as a footnote in their final statement:

“For a large majority of member states, climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050.”


Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Power Beats Everything Else

Combined-cycle natural gas power plants offer lower cost electricity than anything else, especially renewables, the true costs of which are never counted.

Our friends at the Institute of Energy Research have come out with a study that finally examines the true costs of renewables, including their impacts on the efficiencies of other energy sources. The Energy Information Administration has long studied the "levelized costs of electricit" or LCOE of different sources of power but hasn't accounted for all the hidden subsidies, which often take the form of indirect costs on other electricity producers. Combined-cycle natural gas power plants typically come out best anyway, but the spread is minimized by failure to consider these indirect costs. This latest study does address them and natural gas comes out way ahead.

The focus of the study was to compare the costs of new energy generators with existing, across the entire spectrum, and existing generators are far more efficient than either solar or wind. New combined-cycle natural gas power plants also come out as especially efficient.

This to say it is the cheapest source new electricity generation and it runs about 35-40% less expensive than wind or solar. The key to understanding why is in the word "dispatchable." Solar and wind demand dispatchable energy backup when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. Therefore, every solar and wind farm demands redundancy, which is always inefficient.

Think of it this way. Imagine there is such a thing as a completely solar-powered car. It will transport you whenever the sun shines and another 20 miles or so when it stops shining. Let's say it costs you $30,000. It works fine around town on sunny days. It costs you $500 per month to buy and nothing to operate except for minimal maintenance.

But, if you want a car that works after dark, when its's snowing or that will safely take you a 150 miles to visit your daughter, you need a second vehicle that is usable when you need it - a car that runs on gas or something comparable. The solar car would save you lots of gasoline and maintenance and make your dispatchable car last a lot longer, but you'd be paying twice as much in capital costs at the outset. More to the point, the value of your dispatchable vehicle would be steadily depreciating regardless of the miles driven and you'd be paying a whole lot more per mile to drive it. Your solar car would make your other car much more expensive at the same time that your capital costs doubled.

That, in essence, is the problem with renewables from an economic perspective; they only add to the cost and save nothing. They drive down the efficiency of everything. Here's how the IER study explains it:

What is the levelized cost of electricity? The Energy Information Administration (EIA) defines it as "the cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle." But EIA's Annual Energy Outlook and similar LCOE reports focus only on new generation resources, while ignoring the cost of electricity from existing generation resources.

[W]e estimate existing combined-cycle (CC) gas power plants can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $36 per MWh, whereas we project the LCOE of a new CC gas plant to be $50 per MWh.

[We calculate] the costs that non-dispatchable wind and solar generation resources impose on the dispatchable generation resources which are required to remain in service but are forced to generate less in combination with them. Non-dispatchable means that the level of output from wind and solar resources depends on factors beyond our control and cannot be relied upon to follow load fluctuations nor consistently perform during peak loads. Wind and solar resources increase the LCOE of dispatchable resources they cannot replace by reducing their utilization rates without reducing their fixed costs, resulting in a levelized fixed cost increase.

Our calculations estimate that the "imposed cost" of wind generation is about $24 per MWh (of wind generation) when we model the cost against new CC gas generation it might displace, and the imposed cost of solar generation is about $21 per MWh (of solar generation) when we model the CC and combustion turbine (CT) gas generation it might displace.

See what I mean? Renewables are no bargain for anyone. They're like the second car that was going to save you so much money but left you with two car loans and less money in your pocket.


City of Sydney to declare a climate emergency in face of national inaction

Just showboating

Sydney, the largest city in a country acutely vulnerable to global warming, moved on Friday to declare a climate emergency, joining hundreds of local governments around the world in calling for urgent steps to combat the crisis, some in the face of inaction by national politicians.

The declaration does not include any major new actions. But Mayor Clover Moore said it was important that Sydney, which has already made ambitious pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions, raise its voice in a global demand for action.

"Cities need to show leadership, especially when you're not getting that leadership from the national government," Moore said.

Amanda McKenzie, chief executive of the Climate Council, a research center, said Sydney's declaration - which the City Council is expected to easily approve - underlined "just how serious the climate change issue is." "It is a genuine crisis," she said. "Sydney has responded in an appropriate way."

Australia, home to some of the most extreme natural environments on the planet, is recovering from the hottest summer on record - a season of raging wildfires, burning fruit on trees, and crippling drought in farming regions.

But in national elections last month, voters rejected the major party calling for stronger action on climate change, delivering a surprise victory to the incumbent conservative government, which has resisted proposals to sharply reduce carbon emissions.

The conservative coalition was propelled to victory in part by support in the state of Queensland, where the state government cleared the way this month for a fiercely contested coal mine.



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


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The CO2 Hockey Stick is an artifact of CO2 "leakage" from ice cores

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years

Willis Eshenbach's graph of Mauna Loa and Ice Core CO2 data.

The above graph is certainly convincing evidence of a remarkably rapid increase of atmospheric CO2 since 1800. Note how there is a very good match between the most recent ice core data and the actual measurements made at Mount Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Note also that Mauna Loa measurements have been confirmed at other observatories around the world, such as Cape Grim in Tasmania. There can certainly be little doubt about the accuracy of the data after about 1950.

About ten years ago I saw the Law Dome data, now included in the above graph, which all but convinced me that something very serious and unprecedented was happening to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere so I started looking further afield to find other data and other arguments which would either support or cast doubt on this view.

The data prior to about 1700 looks almost too good to be true because it is so very flat and smooth. Perhaps something else is going on. It has been pointed out (notably by Murray Salby, the guy who was fired by Macquarie University) that, maybe, over time, the CO2 trapped in bubbles in ice cores can diffuse between different layers, so smoothing any ups and down of its variation over time.

Then I found out about stomata at  (

Recent stomata studies show that CO2 was variable and the average CO2 concentrations have been significantly higher during the Holocene Interglacial Period than are indicated by the ice core record.

Stomata are the tiny "mouths" in leaves through which a plant absorbs its "food", CO2. When concentrations of CO2 are high the plant needs fewer stomata to obtain the required amount of CO2 and when low the opposite is the case. Hence fossil leaves provide an alternative proxy to ice cores for ancient CO2 concentrations. As we can see in the diagram, the two do not match. The stomata densities indicate that CO2 levels were both higher and more variable during the last 1000 years than indicated in the upper diagram. There are two conflicting stories. It's a "he said, she said" situation.

A further piece of information is the Bomb Test Curve:

The Bomb Test Curve shows the injection and subsequent decay of radioactive CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the atomic bomb tests of the1960s (image: Hakanomono).

There is a mathematical description in TFC, Chapter 13. Suffice to say here that we can conclude that residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 10 years and that less than 20 percent of recent increases in atmospheric CO2 are anthropogenic in origin, the rest comes out of the deep ocean in regions of upwelling. It follows that the ice core graph indicates that either there has been a dramatic recent change in deep ocean circulation or there is something wrong with the ice core proxy CO2 methodology and the stomata data is correct.


 Observations on the Alliance for Market Solutions' "Conservative" Case for a Carbon Tax

Executive Summary

 The Alliance for Market Solutions (AMS) has proposed a tax on "carbon" (emissions of greenhouse gases, or GHG) as a "market-oriented solution to one of America's most pressing economic challenges: . . . reducing carbon pollution." It is among the more prominent of the proposals for a carbon tax now drawing attention from policymakers and observers. This proposed carbon tax is described and intended by AMS to be "revenue neutral" and part of a policy shift away from a regulatory regime for reductions in GHG emissions, a shift that AMS argues would improve economic efficiency.

Those arguments are problematic. Despite the AMS focus on reducing GHG emissions as a policy addressing a negative environmental (climate) externality and despite the AMS claim to be "motivated by our respect for science," the actual proposal is not based on any references to actual climate phenomena, a calculation of the magnitude of a purported GHG externality, or an analysis of the climate effects of the proposed tax.

 Instead, AMS references, in passing, the dire climate predictions in two recent reports, respectively from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the federal government. These reports assume a future path for atmospheric GHG concentrations that is unrealistic in the extreme, and both are inconsistent with the findings in the peer-reviewed literature and the actual evidence on climate phenomena.

 Instead of being structured as a correction for a market inefficiency, the AMS carbon tax much more centrally can be seen as a financing mechanism for a series of tax reductions (or extensions) preferred by AMS: "All revenue from a carbon tax should be used to reduce other, more distortionary taxes that hinder economic growth, including taxes on earnings and income."

Most of the AMS tax reductions are extensions of current tax provisions now scheduled to end, or delays of scheduled increases, analyzed under a "current law" rather than a "current policy" orientation. A "current law" perspective is wholly legitimate and applied often in serious analyses, but in the context of the AMS proposal for a revenue-neutral carbon tax, the "current policy" assumption is far more realistic-in my view-because the current tax policies are unlikely actually to be allowed to lapse.

In short, the proposed AMS carbon tax is independent of any actual environmental parameters, despite its central asserted justification as a climate policy. Instead, it is a device intended to avoid a large increase in the budget deficit in the next 10-year budget window, as AMS admits more or less explicitly.

Because AMS does not ground its carbon tax proposal on a discussion of actual climate phenomena, an analysis of the magnitude of an assumed GHG externality, or a quantification of the environmental effects of its proposed carbon tax, the magnitude of its tax to a significant degree would be arbitrary, driven by AMS's preferred tax policies and the purported goal of revenue neutrality.

In other words, it is clear that AMS is advocating whatever carbon tax is needed to make its various preferred policies (e.g., extending the 2017 tax cuts after 2025) "revenue neutral," while assuming that adoption of the carbon tax would not be accompanied with any new spending in a congressional bargaining equilibrium.

It is clear also that the AMS "climate" justification for its carbon tax is secondary, as the proposed tax would reduce temperatures in 2100 by 0.015øC under assumptions highly favorable toward the AMS climate policy stance, a figure smaller than the standard deviation of the surface temperature record by an order of magnitude.

That it is revenue rather than any "climate" parameters that is the central focus of the AMS proposal is illustrated by the AMS "2018 Year-End Report":


Reforming State Utility Regulation

Utility regulation facilitates recovery on invested capital and provides a utility with a return on that investment. This is an arrangement that would never develop in a market atmosphere where profits are dependent on satisfying consumer demand without regard for the amount of money invested in meeting that demand.

The flaws in this regulatory system are now highlighted by the current drive to close coal-fired power plants and replace the generating capacity with renewable sources of power. The system of utility regulation already creates a natural bias for capital investment as it is and current public policy increases this mal-investment and less-than-optimum use of capital.

Under the current regulations electric utilities can abandon a still useful power plant while collecting the remaining capital and earning a profit on that book value. One alternative is to install expensive carbon capture processes on an existing generator, again satisfying the regulatory incentive to make large capital outlays and increasing profits.

The non-market, policy-driven investment in renewable energy that is to replace coal generation is another investment opportunity. Worse, renewable generation requires additional investment in a large amount of quick-acting back-up natural gas-fired generation.

When we look for solutions to counter this regulatory-created incentive to overinvest in generation assets, we should not focus on tinkering with state regulation but seek ways to free market forces to enact utility reforms. We can never know exactly how a market in electricity will evolve, but we have examples in other sectors of the economy providing direction. In an untampered market an enterprise seeks to minimize capital not maximize it as with regulation. Competition is the key to rational behavior. Already in lightly regulated wholesale power markets a healthy rivalry between power generators is forcing prices down to marginal costs.

To some extent market incentives to hold down costs exist in certain states where consumers have a choice for electricity suppliers. A utility that does not have captive customers for the underlying electricity commodity behaves differently. When recovery of capital losses is no longer near guarantee under regulation, wiser investments follow.

Even with customer choice for the energy itself we still have the monopoly on the electricity delivery system itself. Too often policy makers have turned to mandatory common carriage as remedy for monopoly-owned networks. This route to reform is unnecessary and tramples on property rights. Removing defined utility territories or franchises will allow neighboring utilities to encroach on the areas served by badly-run incumbent utilities.

The argument against this is that it involves duplication of the wiring infrastructure. However, there would be little of this when the incumbent utility that is losing customers realizes the competitor is taking its customers. The loser can salvage some of his cost by selling or renting his wires to the aggressive energy provider.


Cuomo's `renewable' fiasco

Gov. Cuomo keeps raising his renewable-energy goals, but the reality is that New York is actually losing ground when it comes to how much of its power is generated by "clean" plants.

The Empire Center's Ken Girardin recently broke the news that the state last year generated slightly less electricity from renewable sources (wind, hydroelectric and solar) than it did in 2017.

Maybe that's why Cuomo is shifting from a goal of "50 by 30" - having half New York's power come from renewables by 2030 - to a "70 by 30" benchmark: He figures greens can be fooled by talk.

Never mind that the state has yet to meet the 30 percent target it set back in 2010, which it was supposed to reach four years ago.

Nor that the feds are phasing out their subsidies for wind and solar, making it even harder (and more expensive) for those industries to grow.

Nor that communities across the state are nixing proposals for giant wind and solar "farms" - which has forced the governor to push for offshore wind farms, the most expensive single way to generate electricity.

In fact, most of New York's "renewable" energy comes from hydropower, which is tough to scale up. Plus, alternative energy faces a growing transmission problem: You have to get the electricity to the customers, which means major new power lines to connect new solar and wind plants to the grid.

Oh, and the same forces that fight new power plants "in my back yard," also stand in the way of new power lines.

Not to mention that wind and solar don't reliably generate electricity at the times of peak demand - which means you need carbon-based backup plants or you're going to have blackouts.

Final problem: Thanks to Cuomo, the two Indian Point nuclear plants are to shut down this year and next. That will knock a giant hole in the state's non-fossil-fuel electricity generation, and most of the replacement power is sure to come from gas and oil plants.

No wonder the gov keeps talking about his goals for 2030: Even with a fourth term, he'll be out of office when his failure becomes unmistakable.


Power without earning it: How the Greens plan to push their extreme left-wing agendas on Australians - to ban private schools, oppose free speech and legalise drugs

If the Greens had their way, conservative media opinions would be banned, drugs such as ecstasy legalised and private schools phased out.

While the hard-left political party doesn't win elections, it continues to share the balance of power in the Australian Parliament, putting it in a position to shape national laws.

The Greens are unlikely to ever win government in their own right - scoring just 10.4 per cent of lower house votes at last month's federal election.

This was a minuscule increase from the 10.23 per cent share they received in 2016 as they campaigned in May to ban coal-fired power stations within 11 years.

However, the Greens still remain ambitious, with the party's founder Bob Brown in 2011 predicting it would one day replace Labor as Australia's major party on the left.

Before that supposedly happens, the Greens have their sights set on holding the balance of power in the Senate within three years - forcing whichever major party is in government to adopt their agenda to get laws passed.

And it's no secret - the party's leader Richard Di Natale declared this as the party's goal this week.

He claimed a 0.17 percentage point increase in their primary vote as a sign of political success, even though their Senate numbers remained at nine.

'If we repeat this result in 2022, we'll see an extra three senators returned and we'll see the Greens with sole balance of power in the Senate based on these numbers,' Senator Di Natale told Sky News earlier this month.

Griffith University politics lecturer Dr Paul Williams said the Greens had an outside chance of having a crossbench monopoly in the upper house of federal Parliament.

'It's errantly possible that they could have solely the balance of power,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

After the 2010 election, the Greens were able to impose a hated carbon tax on Australia, following the failure of former prime minister Julia Gillard's Labor Party to win a majority in the House of Representatives.

A minor party in the Senate, however, hasn't had the balance of power to itself for almost two decades.

This was during an era when the centre-left Australian Democrats successfully demanded that fruit and vegetables be exempted from the GST, as proposed by a Liberal-National Party government.

Dr Williams said the fracturing of the minor party vote made that a big ask for the Greens in the Senate by 2022.

'I can't see a time when they'll only be Greens, Labor and the L-NP,' he said.

In recent weeks, Senator Di Natale has declared his support for press freedom following Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC and the Canberra home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst.

Three months ago, however, the Victorian senator told supporters at Brunswick, in Melbourne's inner-north, he would seek to ban conservative commentators, ranging from Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones to Sky News hosts Andrew Bolt and Chris Kenny.

'We're going to make sure we've got laws that regulate our media, so that if people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Chris Kenny - and I could go on and on and on and on - if they want to use hate speech to divide the community, then they're going to be held to account for that hate speech,' he said.

Dr Williams said the Greens and Labor both wanted more press regulation, however impractical that may be, because they were suspicious of conservative-leaning media outlets.

'Given that Alan Jones dominates the airwaves,  I'm not sure how you'd regulate that,' he said.



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