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  (https://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html).

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


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