Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Against Climate Panic, for Climate Hope

We must craft a conservative, ecomodernist vision of environmental action.

Yesterday I read one of the sadder articles I’ve read in a long time. It’s in BuzzFeed, and it’s the personal story of a young woman who became a “birth striker.” That’s a person who chooses not to have children — as an act of personal autonomy, yes, but also as a statement of despair at the state and fate of the world.

It’s difficult to overstate the bleakness of her vision. When friends tell her that her children could be agents of change, she responds:

"I want to agree with them, but I can’t. Because we are in a crisis, an emergency. And my kid won’t solve it, and your kid won’t solve it. If they are empaths they will feel just as trapped as I do, just as complicit in something they cannot solve — and they will pollute and harm and gobble up the world because that is what it means to live in the 21st century."

When she had an unintended pregnancy, she tried to get an abortion but couldn’t afford the procedure. When she told her environmentalist friends that she was pregnant, “they froze. Did I know that abortion was an option? they asked. As if I did not. One friend sat silently for a long time after I told him, and then sniffed. ‘That baby will use up a lot of resources,’ he said, then got up slowly and biked away.”

She gave her child up for adoption. She loves her daughter, and she’s “glad she exists,” but she also says that “her existence — white, middle class, pampered — will make it harder, in some slippery, maddening math that is not her fault, for others to do the same.”

The author’s words echo the despair of another writer, who wrote these words last year in the pages of the New York Times:

"I cried two times when my daughter was born. First for joy, when after 27 hours of labor the little feral being we’d made came yowling into the world, and the second for sorrow, holding the earth’s newest human and looking out the window with her at the rows of cars in the hospital parking lot, the strip mall across the street, the box stores and drive-throughs and drainage ditches and asphalt and waste fields that had once been oak groves. A world of extinction and catastrophe, a world in which harmony with nature had long been foreclosed. My partner and I had, in our selfishness, doomed our daughter to life on a dystopian planet, and I could see no way to shield her from the future."

There is now such a thing as “climate-change anxiety,” and as the Washington Post reported last month, it’s filtering into pop culture. A key subplot in one episode of the HBO series Big Little Lies featured a child suffering an actual panic attack during a classroom climate-change discussion. In another HBO show, Euphoria, a character justifies her drug use by claiming that “the world’s coming to an end, and I haven’t even graduated high school yet.”

I’m reminded of the nuclear fears that haunted my generation. I grew up during intense Cold War tensions. As a young nerd, I even tried to calculate whether our house was in the blast radius if the Soviets targeted the Bluegrass Army Depot, a nearby storage facility for chemical weapons. I remember watching The Day After when I was 14 years old, and the next morning it was all anyone talked about in my Kentucky public school.

I’m not going to say that nuclear fears dominated our minds, but they certainly dominated some minds, and the anxiety could be very real.

But I think there’s a key difference between climate-change anxiety and nuclear anxiety: There is far more cause for hope for the future now than there was then. In fact, if you rewind to 1983, we were facing a recent world experience that clearly taught us that catastrophic great-power conflict wasn’t just possible but was the recent norm in human affairs. Two opposing powers faced each other, bristling with weapons, and history taught us that this was a recipe for total war. We did not have concrete reason to hope for the peace that did, in fact, come.

But what is recent history teaching us about the human condition on this planet? It gives us both cause for concern and reason for hope. One does not have to buy the doomsday scenarios — including the predictions that we have a decade (or less) to save the planet — to be concerned about humanity’s impact on the climate and the climate’s impact on humans. I am concerned, and I do believe we should take reasonable measures to mitigate that impact.

But we should not give into dystopian thinking. The same human ingenuity and industry that has extended life expectancies, slashed extreme poverty by 74 percent in 25 years, and also reduced carbon emissions in numerous advanced economies can advance the twin, interconnected goals of human flourishing and planetary flourishing.

In fact, as Tyler Cowen argued at Bloomberg in March, the reality of human ingenuity argues for having more children, not fewer. He asks, “Is the remedy for climate change, to the extent we find one, more likely to come from North America or New Zealand?” As he notes, “the wealthier and more populous America is a more likely source of technological innovation, even though it is also a more significant source of greenhouse gases.”

Earlier this week, writing in Foreign Policy magazine, my friend Ted Nordhaus, founder of the Breakthrough Institute, highlighted U.S. investments in two technologies, shale gas and nuclear power, that have generated immense benefits:

Washington may have wasted billions of dollars in the 1970s and 1980s on synthetic fuels, but during the same period, it spent a fraction of that on shale gas, which has brought such extraordinary economic benefits to the U.S. economy that it alone has probably made up for the cost of all other federal energy investments since the end of World War II. . . . U.S. investments in nuclear energy have proved similarly efficient. Over the last half-century, nuclear plants have avoided somewhere between 15 and 20 gigatons of carbon emissions, at a cost of less than $5 per ton.

Nordhaus is a coauthor the “Ecomodernist Manifesto,” an environmentalist document that utterly contradicts the modern conservative caricature of environmentalism and rebuts the bleak vision of “birth strikers” and other dystopian doomsayers. It’s not a new document — it was written in 2015 — but it’s one that too few conservatives (not too mention too few Christians) have read.

It leaves ample room for political disagreement about costs, approach, and policy, but it holds that human well-being can be increasingly decoupled from the destruction of nature. It begins, “To say that the Earth is a human planet becomes truer every day. Humans are made from the Earth, and the Earth is remade by human hands. Many earth scientists express this by stating that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans. As scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens, we write with the conviction that knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene.”

Amen to that.

When I read the despair evident on the virtual pages of BuzzFeed and the New York Times — and portrayed on HBO — it grieves me not because there isn’t cause for concern but because there is no need for panic. It transmits the mistaken view that care for the environment means that we must minimize the inherent worth of humanity or hold back development from those countless millions of souls who seek the same bounty and opportunity that’s now baked into the our world’s advanced economies.

In his Foreign Policy essay, Nordhaus seeks to shift the “climate debate from one in which one party posits an existential threat demanding solutions that serve its own interests and the other denies that the problem even exists for similar reasons.” His alternative is what he calls a “quiet climate policy.” This he defines as “the art of the possible, focused on reducing the costs of action, disentangling climate policy from the ideological disputes and electoral calculations, . . . and lowering the political threshold for meaningful action.”

Amen to that as well. Quiet climate policy depends on understanding not only that a challenge exists but also that panic is counterproductive and polarization should be shunned. It also depends on a few fundamental assertions — we are not doomed, human beings should flourish, and our God-given ingenuity and creativity can craft the instruments of our own environmental rescue.


An interesting BBC interview from the year 2010

Phil Jones is director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has been at the centre of the row over hacked e-mails.

The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics. The questions were put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA's press office.

A - Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I've assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

B - Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

C - Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

D - Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.

More HERE 

What It Will Take for the Wind and Solar Industries to Collapse?

The solar electricity industry is dependent on federal government subsidies for building new capacity.  The subsidy consists of a 30% tax credit and the use of a tax scheme called tax equity finance.  These subsidies are delivered during the first five years.

For wind, there is subsidy during the first five to ten years resulting from tax equity finance.  There is also a production subsidy that lasts for the first ten years.

The other subsidy for wind and solar, not often characterized as a subsidy, is state renewable portfolio laws, or quotas, that require that an increasing portion of a state's electricity come from renewable sources.  Those state mandates result in wind and solar electricity being sold via profitable 25-year power purchase contracts.  The buyer is generally a utility with good credit.  The utilities are forced to offer these terms in order to cause sufficient supply to emerge to satisfy the renewable energy quotas.

The rate of return from a wind or solar investment can be low and credit terms favorable because the investors see the 25-year contract by a creditworthy utility as a guarantee of a low risk of default.  If the risk were to be perceived as higher, then a higher rate of return and a higher interest rate on loans would be demanded.  That in turn would increase the price of the electricity generated.

The bankruptcy of PG&E, the largest California utility, has created some cracks in the façade.  A bankruptcy judge has ruled that cancelation of up to $40 billion in long-term energy contracts is a possibility.  These contracts are not essential or needed to preserve the supply of electricity because they are mostly for wind or solar electricity supply that varies with the weather and can't be counted on.  As a consequence, there has to exist and does exist the necessary infrastructure to supply the electricity needs without the wind or solar energy.

Probably the judge will be overruled for political reasons, or the state will step in with a bailout.  Utilities have to keep operating, no matter what.  Ditching wind and solar contracts would make California politicians look foolish because they have long touted wind and solar as the future of energy.

PG&E is in bankruptcy because California applies strict liability for damages from forest fires started by electric lines, no matter who is really at fault.  Almost certainly the government is at fault for not anticipating the danger of massive fires and for not enforcing strict fire prevention and protection.  Massive fire damage should be protected by insurance, not by the utility, even if the fire was started by a power line.  The fire in question could just as well have been started by lightning or a homeless person.  PG&E previously filed bankruptcy in 2001, also a consequence of abuse of the utility by the state government.

By far the most important subsidy is the renewable portfolio laws.  Even if the federal subsidies are reduced, the quota for renewable energy will force price increases to keep the renewable energy industry in business, because it has to stay in business to supply energy to meet the quota.  Other plausible methods of meeting the quota have been outlawed by the industry's friends in the state governments.  Nuclear and hydro, neither of which generates CO2 emissions, are not allowed.  Hydro is not strictly prohibited — only hydro that involves dams and diversions.  That is very close to all hydro.  Another reason hydro is banned is that environmental groups don't like dams.

For technical reasons, an electrical grid cannot run on wind or solar much more than 50% of the time.  The fleet of backup plants must be online to provide adjustable output to compensate for erratic variations in wind or solar.  Output has to be ramped up to meet early-evening peaks.  Wind suffers from a cube power law, meaning that if the wind drops by 10%, the electricity drops by 30%.  Solar suffers from too much generation in the middle of the day and not enough generation to meet early evening peaks in consumption.

When a "too much generation" situation happens, the wind or solar has to be curtailed.  That means that the operators are told to stop delivering electricity.  In many cases, they are not paid for the electricity they could have delivered.  Some contracts require that they be paid according to a model that figures out how much they could have generated according to the recorded weather conditions. The more wind and solar, the more curtailments as the amount of erratic electricity approaches the allowable limits.  Curtailment is an increasing threat, as quotas increase, to the financial health of wind and solar.

There is a movement to include batteries with solar installations to move excessive middle-of-the-day generation to the early evening.  This is a palliative to extend the time before solar runs into the curtailment wall.  The batteries are extremely expensive and wear out every five years.

Neither wind nor solar is competitive without subsidies.  If the subsidies and quotas were taken away, no wind or solar operation outside very special situations would be built.  Further, the existing installations would continue only as long as their contracts are honored and they are cash flow–positive.  In order to be competitive, without subsidies, wind or solar would have to supply electricity for less than $20 per megawatt-hour, the marginal cost of generating the electricity with gas or coal.  Only the marginal cost counts, because the fossil fuel plants have to be there whether or not there is wind or solar.  Without the subsidies, quotas, and 25-year contracts, wind or solar would have to get about $100 per megawatt-hour for its electricity.  That gap, between $100 and $20, is a wide chasm only bridged by subsidies and mandates.

The cost of using wind and solar for reducing CO2 emissions is very high.  The most authoritative and sincere promoters of global warming loudly advocate using nuclear, a source that is not erratic, does not emit CO2 or pollution, and uses the cheapest fuel.  One can buy carbon offsets for 10 or 20 times less than the cost of reducing CO2 emissions with wind or solar.  A carbon offset is a scheme where the buyer pays the seller to reduce world emissions of CO2.  This is done in a variety of ways by the sellers.

The special situations where wind and solar can be competitive are remote locations using imported oil to generate electricity.  In those situations, the marginal cost of the electricity may be $200 per megawatt-hour or more.  Newfoundland comes to mind — for wind, not solar.

Maintenance costs for solar are low.  For wind, maintenance costs are high, and major components, such as propeller blades and gearboxes, may fail, especially as the turbines age.  These heavy and awkward objects are located hundreds of feet above ground.  There exists a danger that wind farms will fail once the inflation-protected subsidy of $24 per megawatt-hour runs out after ten years.  At that point, turbines that need expensive repairs may be abandoned.  Wind turbine graveyards from the first wind fad in the 1970s can be seen near Palm Springs, California.  Wind farms can't receive the production subsidy unless they can sell the electricity.  That has resulted paying customers to "buy" the electricity.

A significant financial risk is that the global warming narrative may collapse.  If belief in the reality of the global warming threat collapses, then the major intellectual support for renewable energy will collapse.  It is ironic that the promoters of global warming are campaigning to require companies to take into account the threat of global warming in their financial projections.  If the companies do this in an honest manner, they also have to take into account the possibility that the threat will evaporate.  My own best guess, after considerable technical study, is that it is near a sure thing that the threat of global warming is imaginary and largely invented by the people who benefit.  Adding CO2 to the atmosphere has well understood positive effects for the growth of crops and the greening of deserts.

The conservative investors who make long-term investments in wind or solar may be underestimating the risks involved.  For example, an article in Chief Investment Officer magazine stated that CalPERS, the giant California public employees retirement fund, is planning to expand investments in renewable energy, characterized as "stable cash flowing assets."  That article was written before the bankruptcy of PG&E.  The article also stated that competition among institutional investors for top yielding investments in the alternative energy space is fierce.

Wind and solar are not competitive and never will be.  They have been pumped up into supposedly solid investments by means of ill advised subsidies and mandates.  At some point, the governments will wake up to the waste and foolishness involved.  At that point, the value of these investments will collapse.  It won't be the first time that investment experts made bad investments because they don't really understand what is going on.


Offshore Wind Fiascos Illustrate the Absurdity of Climate Change Policies

Offshore wind projects make little environmental and no economic sense. They are boondoggles and reflect the rent-seeking corporatism behind climate policy.

Despite its high cost, states along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Virginia are planning to invest in offshore wind. Massachusetts is preparing to obtain power from more than a score of huge wind turbines off its coast, carried to the mainland by underwater cables, with the cost passed through to households and businesses.

New Jersey regulators just selected Ørsted, a Danish energy company, to build giant wind turbines 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City that will generate 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind. Connecticut is set to start its initial offshore wind solicitation with the aim of getting 2,000 megawatts by 2030. Maryland has plans for two wind farms off the coast of Ocean City with a 328-foot meteorological tower to be installed in July about 17 miles off the coast in advance of the US Wind offshore wind farm project. New York has plans for wind farms off the coast of Long Island.

Offshore wind

To date, the nation’s only offshore wind turbines are located off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. The Block Island Wind Farm went into operation in late 2016, costing $300 million—$10,000 per kilowatt—for five wind turbines totaling 30 megawatts of capacity. Operating and maintenance expenses for offshore wind farms currently add about $80,000 per megawatt each year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Despite its high cost, this wind farm is perhaps the only project made at least some sense since Block Island had relied on high-cost electricity generated by diesel generators that obtained their fuel from floating tankers ferried across 18 miles of water. Meanwhile, though, Rhode Island is planning another offshore wind project—an 84-wind turbine farm in waters south of Martha’s Vineyard, costing $2 billion-plus $16.7 million to compensate companies that lost access to fishing grounds.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the levelized cost of a new offshore wind turbine is more than double the cost of an onshore wind turbine and over three times the cost of a new combined-cycle unit.


Virginia’s State Corporation Commission approved a project to construct 12-megawatts of wind turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach in federal waters. The plan is to have the wind turbines operating by the end of 2020, making that project a steppingstone to the state’s goal of 2 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2028. The project is intended to determine how the technology works and performs in the Atlantic Ocean, with its potential for hurricane-force winds.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s Ocean Wind project is expected to begin construction in early 2020. The Ocean Wind project offered a first-year Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate price of $98.10 per megawatt-hour—which represents costs paid by ratepayers before they are refunded for energy and capacity revenues generated from the wind project. That price is two to three times more than the cost of generating power from existing coal, nuclear, and natural gas resources. The Ocean Wind project is expected to result in an estimated monthly increase on utility bills of $1.46 for residential customers, $13.05 for commercial customers, and $110.10 for industrial customers. It is estimated that the project will create over 15,000 direct jobs during its 25-year expected life and generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits.

New Jersey’s Ocean Wind project is a major step toward fulfilling Governor Phil Murphy’s promise to install 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Governor Murphy has directed the state’s regulators to solicit 1,200 megawatts in 2020 and 2022. New Jersey’s offshore wind will be subsidized through charges on ratepayers’ utility bills.


The 328-foot tall meteorological tower, in roughly the middle of US Wind’s approved Wind Energy Area, will be used to collect wind resource data within the Maryland lease area before the 32 huge offshore wind turbines are installed. The installation of the met tower will begin in mid-July with a construction schedule of about 10 days. The tower will have a braced caisson foundation sunk at a water depth of 88 feet, a steel deck, and a galvanized steel mast. The construction area will include a lift barge, cargo barge, a tow tug, and several crew boats. US Wind requested a 500-meter safety buffer during the tower construction. The project is expected to create roughly 7,000 direct and indirect jobs in Maryland including an in-state investment of nearly $1.5 billion.

Ocean City wants the turbines to be sited 26 miles offshore where they should not be visible by tourists on the coast. The town council believes visible turbines would have a detrimental impact on the views from the Ocean City shore and on property values. The council is also not happy with the timing of the meteorological tower installation because it is so close to the White Marlin Open held in early August. Commercial fishermen are concerned about losing equipment and that the construction and noise will scare fish and other seafood away.


State politicians and regulators are going ahead with offshore wind farms despite their cost, impact on ratepayers, and concerns of fishermen and city councils. The tourist industry is a major contributor to the economies of Virginia Beach, Atlantic City, and Ocean City where the wind turbines are to be located. Increasing the cost of power, disrupting views, and scaring away sea life will not help those economies continue to flourish.


Australia: One in five solar units ‘defective’

More than one in five rooftop solar installations on Australian homes were found to be substandard in 2018 amid a boom in the renewable energy source driven by cheaper costs and government rebates.

More than 20 per cent or 748 of the 3678 solar units inspected last year were found to be substandard, meaning defects were found such as incorrect wiring that could lead to “premature” equipment failure, Clean Energy Regulator data shows.

The government’s renewables regulator has been conducting random inspections of rooftop solar units across the nation since 2011, with the average number of substandard systems recorded at 17.7 per cent as of July 2018. Last year’s figure of 20.3 per cent marked a jump and was also a slight increase on the 19.8 per cent of systems labelled substandard in 2017.

The number of unsafe systems, defined as a possible safety hazard, also grew slightly with 80 out of 3678 solar units receiving the rating, equating to a rate of 2.2 per cent compared with 1.9 per cent in 2017. Common issues included water found in electrical components and products subject to recalls.

The growth of solar continues to accelerate in Australia with 2.15 million households now owning rooftop systems spurred by the falling cost of kit and subsidies at federal and state level.

The technology’s rampant growth is helping to reset the generation mix of the nation’s power grid while the growth of rooftop solar contributed to prices hitting zero across the entire national electricity market last Sunday, underlining new-found volatility for electricity generators in the market.

Growth in solar will continue over the next decade even as subsidies are retired, the regulator said.

“We continue to see growth in rooftop photovoltaic for households and businesses, even as the level of the support from subsidies under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme gradually decreases between now and when the scheme ends in 2030,” Clean Energy Regulator chairman David Parker said.

The number of accredited installers working in Australia and New Zealand surged by more than 1000 to 5922 by the end of 2018 with the Clean Energy Council taking action against 590 installers or roughly 10 per cent of the entire workforce, the report found.

New guidelines to improve safety and quality effective July 1 will cut the number of jobs an installer can sign off on to two from three while ongoing work with product manufacturers and safety regulators is being conducted to improve safety concerns.

In Victoria, the Andrews government’s solar subsidy was plunged into disarray this week with the staggered nature of the $2225 subsidy leading to a boom and bust cycle and forcing some businesses to the brink.

The $1.3 billion Solar Homes program — launched last year in the lead-up to the election — was designed to help 770,000 households invest in solar while creating 5500 new jobs and slashing carbon emissions.

However, the Smart Energy Council, which organised a mass protest on Thursday over the rollout of the scheme, yesterday urged those affected to meet with their local MPs to try and reset the system.



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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Greenie scientists forget basic science

The article below claims to show that "there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive as in recent decades" and they quote evidence to show that.  I will not quarrel with the evidence concerned at this point but will simply ask:  "So what?

The earth has undergone great temperature change in geological times so what does this recent revelation prove?  Precisely nothing as far as I can see. If previous changes were due to natural factors,  why are recent changes not due to natural factors?  There is precisely ZERO evidence that the recent changes were due to human activity.  Saying that they were is faith, not science

If John Cook's claim that “There was 99% scientific consensus in 2011 that humans are causing global warming.” is true, it simply shows how powerful the pressures to conformity are in our present Left-dominated academe.  Only conformity can explain such a consensus.  There is nothing in the science to explain it and much in the science to contradict it

The scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming is likely to have passed 99%, according to the lead author of the most authoritative study on the subject, and could rise further after separate research that clears up some of the remaining doubts.

Three studies published in Nature and Nature Geoscience use extensive historical data to show there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive as in recent decades.

It had previously been thought that similarly dramatic peaks and troughs might have occurred in the past, including in periods dubbed the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Climate Anomaly. But the three studies use reconstructions based on 700 proxy records of temperature change, such as trees, ice and sediment, from all continents that indicate none of these shifts took place in more than half the globe at any one time.

The Little Ice Age, for example, reached its extreme point in the 15th century in the Pacific Ocean, the 17th century in Europe and the 19th century elsewhere, says one of the studies. This localisation is markedly different from the trend since the late 20th century when records are being broken year after year over almost the entire globe, including this summer’s European heatwave.

Major temperature shifts in the distant past are also likely to have been primarily caused by volcanic eruptions, according to another of the studies, which helps to explain the strong global fluctuations in the first half of the 18th century as the world started to move from a volcanically cooled era to a climate warmed by human emissions. This has become particularly pronounced since the late 20th century, when temperature rises over two decades or longer have been the most rapid in the past two millennia, notes the third.

The authors say this highlights how unusual warming has become in recent years as a result of industrial emissions.

“There is no doubt left – as has been shown extensively in many other studies addressing many different aspects of the climate system using different methods and data sets,” said Stefan Brönnimann, from the University of Bern and the Pages 2K consortium of climate scientists.

Commenting on the study, other scientists said it was an important breakthrough in the “fingerprinting” task of proving how human responsibility has changed the climate in ways not seen in the past.

“This paper should finally stop climate change deniers claiming that the recent observed coherent global warming is part of a natural climate cycle. This paper shows the truly stark difference between regional and localised changes in climate of the past and the truly global effect of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions,” said Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College London.

Previous studies have shown near unanimity among climate scientists that human factors – car exhausts, factory chimneys, forest clearance and other sources of greenhouse gases – are responsible for the exceptional level of global warming.

A 2013 study in Environmental Research Letters found 97% of climate scientists agreed with this link in 12,000 academic papers that contained the words “global warming” or “global climate change” from 1991 to 2011. Last week, that paper hit 1m downloads, making it the most accessed paper ever among the 80+ journals published by the Institute of Physics, according to the authors.

The pushback has been political rather than scientific. In the US, the rightwing thinktank the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is reportedly putting pressure on Nasa to remove a reference to the 97% study from its webpage. The CEI has received event funding from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and Charles Koch Institute, which have much to lose from a transition to a low-carbon economy.

But among academics who study the climate, the convergence of opinion is probably strengthening, according to John Cook, the lead author of the original consensus paper and a follow-up study on the “consensus about consensus” that looked at a range of similar estimates by other academics.

He said that at the end of his 20-year study period there was more agreement than at the beginning: “There was 99% scientific consensus in 2011 that humans are causing global warming.” With ever stronger research since then and increasing heatwaves and extreme weather, Cook believes this is likely to have risen further and is now working on an update.

“As expertise in climate science increases, so too does agreement with human-caused global warming,” Cook wrote on the Skeptical Science blog. “The good news is public understanding of the scientific consensus is increasing. The bad news is there is still a lot of work to do yet as climate deniers continue to persistently attack the scientific consensus.”


U.S. Government Climate Science vs. U.S. Government Climate Crisis

Dr. Caleb Rossiter presented the following statement at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources Hearing on July 25, 2019:

The scientific integrity of the Department of Interior suffered badly in 2018. As a participating agency in the U.S. Global Change Research Program it approved the publication of Volume II of the fourth National Climate Assessment.

Volume II, titled Impact, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, repeatedly contradicts Volume I, Climate Science Special Report, which was published the year before.

Volume I found, as did the latest synthesis report (AR5) by a similar body of government scientists at the UN, in which the United States is a member, that there is no statistically significant evidence that human-caused warming, or in nearly all cases even warming from natural causes, has resulted in an increase in the decadal rates of hurricanes, droughts, floods, storms, precipitation, wildfires, and sea-level rise. Variable periods of extreme weather are not the same as a change in the underlying climate.

Volume II, in contrast, repeatedly claims that there have been increases in all of these variables, and many others, because of human-caused climate change. It presents no statistical proof for these claims. It also uses small regions and inappropriately short time periods for analysis that hide its own data and conclusions from appropriate time periods in Volume I.

Volume II also presents individual and regional examples of crises as being caused by 'climate change,' while Volume I and UN data and conclusions show no trends that allow such attribution. It also repeatedly reports modeled 'expectations' and 'projections'  of extreme and dangerous weather despite the lack of trends to date.

Volume II justifies this narrative of the future by claiming that: 'Climate models have proved remarkably accurate .... Today, the largest uncertainty in projecting future climate conditions is the level of greenhouse gas emissions going forward.' This is a gross misrepresentation of the state of climate modeling, as described in the UN report. Climate models are mathematical exercises in curve-fitting in which thousands of parameters are tuned to enhance the contribution of carbon dioxide to warming. As a result they have been poor at projections, consistently running two to three times too hot over the past 30 years.

It is scientific malfeasance to ignore or misrepresent your own data and conclusions. Volume II is a false narrative, not a work of science, and indeed deserves the label 'fake science.'

I encourage the Committee to use its oversight functions to find out how this breakdown of scientific principles occurred at the Department of Interior and indeed in the entire U.S. Global Change Research Program.

* * *

From its cover showing a wildfire burning in California to the last of its 1,515 pages, Volume II claims incessantly, in contradiction to Volume I and the UN, that human-caused climate change is creating crises in extreme weather.

A single page, provided here, from Volume II's Overview compiles many of these false claims. It fundamentally confuses weather with climate by presenting particular examples of extreme weather as "climate change," despite the Volume I and UN data and conclusions showing no statistically-significant trends for the variables in question.

This page is labeled 'Americans Respond to the Impact of Climate Change.' From the many claims in Volume II that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce the impact of climate change, it is clear that it is referring here to human-caused climate change.

However, this page never tells the reader that the UN has concluded that at least the first half-degree of the past century's one-degree warming, until 1950, was largely natural because there was insufficient CO2 to force temperature. After 1950, during the era of significant CO2 emissions from the surge in global industrialization, the UN concludes that up to half of the second half-degree of the warming still may be natural.

Here is a list of the page's claims that are contradicted by the data and conclusions in Volume I, and by the UN body.

CLAIM: Northwest: Wildfire increases and associated smoke are affecting human health, water resources, timber production, fish and wildlife, and recreation.

FACT: Wildfires have increased since 1970, largely because of forest management practices. Volume I says: "(L)ow to medium confidence for a detectable human climate change contribution in the western United States based on existing studies .... The frequency of large wildfires is influenced by a complex combination of natural and human factors. Temperature, soil moisture, relative humidity, wind speed, and vegetation (fuel density) are important aspects of the relationship between fire frequency and ecosystems .... Forest management practices have resulted in higher fuel densities in most U.S. forests .... Recent literature does not contain a complete robust detection and attribution analysis of forest fires including estimates of natural decadal and multidecadal variability...nor separate the contributions to observed trends from climate change and forest management."

CLAIM: Southwest: Drought in the Colorado River Basin has reduced Lake Mead by over half since 2000, increasing risk of water shortages for cities, farms, and ecosystems.

FACT: Both Volume I and the UN report no significant trends in drought, and so of course did not conclude that droughts were caused by a temperature increase, natural or man-made. Volume I: "(There is) evidence from paleoclimate proxies of cases of central U.S. droughts during the past 1,000 years that were longer and more intense than historical U.S. droughts. UN: We conclude that there is low confidence in detection and attribution of changes in drought over global land areas since the mid-20th century .... Recent long-term droughts in western North America cannot definitively be shown to lie outside the very large envelope of  natural precipitation variability in this region."

CLAIM: Northern Great Plains: Flash drought and extreme heat illustrate sustainability challenges for ranching operations with emerging impacts on rural prosperity and mental health.

FACT: Again, no Volume I or UN trends on drought in the CO2 era. On heat waves, the UN says: "There is also evidence in some regions that periods prior to the 1950s had more heatwaves (e.g., over the USA, the decade of the 1930s stands out and is also associated with extreme drought)." However, the UN was unable to make a global conclusion on whether heat waves have increased, due to a lack of data coverage, but is a weak 66 percent sure that "the frequency of heat waves has increased in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia." In any event, how big is the effect, based on all available global data? Tiny. The study the UN relies on says that there has been an increase since 1950 of just one quarter of one percent in the number of heat waves per year, and a 1.4 percent increase in the total number of heat wave days per year

CLAIM: Southern Great Plains: Hurricane Harvey's landfall on the Texas coast in 2017 was one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

FACT: If it was a "natural disaster" what is a hurricane doing on a page of "impacts of climate change?" And Volume I and the UN do not find that hurricanes are man-made or part of a trend. Volume 1: "(T)here is still low confidence that any reported long-term (multidecadal to centennial) increases in tropical cyclone (note: includes hurricanes) activity are robust. UN: Current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century .... No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin."

CLAIM: Flooding in Louisiana is increasing from extreme rainfall.

FACT: Volume I: "Analysis of 200 U.S. stream gauges indicates areas of both increasing and decreasing flooding magnitude but does not provide robust evidence that these trends are attributable to human influences." UN: "(T)here continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale." (Rossiter note: 'sign of trend' means we don't even know if it is increasing or decreasing.)

CLAIM: Midwest: Increasing heavy rains are leading to more soil erosion and nutrient loss on Midwest croplands.

FACT: There is a trend to heavy rainfall in parts of the United States, although it has not been attributed to human activities. Globally, there is strong regional variation in heavy rains. Volume I: "Heavy precipitation events in most parts of the United States have increased in both intensity and frequency since 1900 (high confidence). There are important regional differences in trends, with the largest increases occurring in the northeastern United States (high confidence). (Rossiter note: the period from 1901 to today includes half a century of natural warming.) However, trends ... identified for the U.S. regions have not been clearly attributed to anthropogenic forcing." UN: "It is likely that since 1951 there have been statistically significant increases in the number of heavy precipitation events in more regions than there have been statistically significant decreases, but there are strong regional and subregional variations."

CLAIM: U.S. Caribbean Damages from the 2017 hurricanes have been compounded by the slow recovery of energy...

FACT: As above, no hurricane trends.

CLAIM: Northeast: Water, energy and transportation are affected by snowstorms, drought, heat waves, and flooding.

FACT: No significant national or global trends, whether man-made or natural, have been identified for these variables. Drought, heat waves, and flooding have been covered above. On snowstorms, Volume I finds regional variation but no national trend:  "Changes in snow cover extent (SCE) in the Northern Hemisphere exhibit a strong seasonal dependence. There has been little change in winter SCE since the 1960s (when the first satellite records became available), while fall SCE has increased. However, the decline in spring SCE is larger than the increase in fall..."


Local governments should steer clear of climate dogma

The County and staff have arbitrarily decided to pledge allegiance to the U.N. and adopt the Paris Climate Pledge.  Years back, during a BOS meeting, Supervisor Dennis Rooker told me the he did not see any U.N. blue helmets there in the County, when I pointed out to him the flawed climate policies of the U.N. IPCC. My how times have changed. Now the County holds the U.N. up as a standard of reference.

What is the justification or objective of this County embrace of the U.N. now?  It is unstated.  The Paris Agreement is deeply flawed in terms of any theoretical impact on global climate change or temperature because two major contributors to global CO2 (if that is the parameter being targeted) are India and China, both of which currently remain unrestrained in their use of fossil fuels by that agreement. In addition, the IPCC has based its alarmist, computer-generated predictions upon the false assumption that carbon dioxide is the prime determinant of global temperature, while ignoring the facts that water vapor (clouds) is the number one greenhouse gas, and that there exists the effect of solar interactions with cosmic particles.

China emits almost twice the amount of greenhouse gases as the US, which it surpassed in 2006 as the world’s top contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide. Today, China accounts for approximately 23 percent of all global CO2 emissions. The United States government estimates project that, barring major reform, China will double its emissions by 2040, due to its heavy reliance on fossil fuels for steel production and electricity.

India plans to double its coal production to feed a national power grid that suffers from increasingly frequent blackouts, and is the third largest contributor to fossil fuel CO2 production.

The US has never entered into any binding treaty to curb greenhouse gases, but has cut more carbon dioxide emissions than any other nation.

Prior studies have shown the utter futility of these carbon dioxide and fossil fuel reduction schemes on a state-by-state analysis:

From which study, it was calculated that if Virginia were to cease use of all fossil fuels and CO2 production, the savings in global temperature by 2050 would be a minuscule 0.0016 degrees C.  Moreover, it would take only 50 days before global increases in CO2 production would completely wipe out that insignificant temperature saving. Anything the County is proposing will have no real or measurable effect.

County planners and climate lobbyists tout renewable energy as a replacement for 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. Wind and solar contribute 6.6 percent and 1.6 percent.  Explain how 8 per cent wind and solar will replace 62 per cent reliable energy 24/7. During heat spells, wind activity falls, and wind turbine power output falls just when it is needed the most.

A logical conclusion is that the County staff have an agenda for wishing to ration energy in the County not related to temperature or climate change, or that they are uninformed of these climate/energy facts. The County Staff openly give away the game by using the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as their guide.   Thus, we must then assume that they fully believe the U.N. when Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the IPCC’s fourth summary report released in 2007 stated the priority: “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth.”

This is the apparent County goal, and it is moving forward with the support of environmental activists and commercial enterprises hoping to profit from imposed de facto energy rationing. Members of the public at large are greatly outnumbered at relevant County hearings by special interest groups. Unelected County staff are crafting numerous schemes to ration the public’s free use of energy and modes of transportation. These schemes do not offer a cost-benefit analysis, nor do they quantify the impact on the climate. They do reflect an anti-democratic mindset which wishes to impose a government-defined bureaucratic a mode of living including unnecessarily more expensive energy, and higher taxes to subsidize commercial make-work efforts with no proof of cost effectiveness nor measurable impact on the climate.

Or as the chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that her signature Green New Deal was not really about saving the planet after all.

In a report by the Washington Post, Saikat Chakrabarti revealed that “it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all … we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

That “thing” is known as democracy and informed freedom of choice.


Tom McClintock Mocks AOC And Other Doomsday Climate Scenarios

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said at the 13th International Conference on Climate Change on Thursday in Washington, DC, that he has as much expertise as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) or even Prince Charles when it comes to predicting the planet’s future.

Ocasio-Cortez has said we have 12 years to address climate change before disaster hit, and the prince has weighed in with doomsday predictions that range from 18 months to as many as 35 years until catastrophic events unfold.

McClintock said his prediction is based on a planet that has survived a changing climate for a very long time.

“I suppose I have as much authority as either of them to make predictions so I’ll give us another four and a half billion years, which is the amount of time the climate’s already been changing on the planet,” McClintock said to an appreciative crowd at the Heartland Institute’s convention featuring climate scientists and other experts who spent the day making the case against a manmade climate crisis.

McClintock, who is the ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Ocean, and Wildlife, said that when the Democrats became the majority party in the 2018 midterm elections they were eager to showcase climate change.

“So when the Democrats began holding hearings and Heartland Institute scholars began showing up and an actual debate began to unfold, our friends on the left seemed to have lost a lot of their interest in those hearings,” McClintock said, adding that he sees that as a positive development.

“They gave us a critical opportunity to engage them on the actual science behind their apocalyptic predictions and they didn’t like where it leads,” McClintock said.

McClintock said despite the humor to be found in the “hysteria” on the left, it calls for serious pushback:

This would be amusing except that it continues to drive public policy despite the failure of every one of their predictions and forecasts to coincide with the actual data we’ve accumulated since this nonsense began. We’ve allowed ourselves once again to be thrown into panic from forces that have been at work shaping our planet since it formed.

McClintock said climate change fear-mongering dates back to the 1970s when both Newsweek and the Washington Post reported on the dangers of an impending new Ice Age.

And that even today the left is ignoring the science that contradicts their apocalyptic predictions.

“The left loves to call us climate change deniers,” McClintock said. “The fact is they deny the science of climate change — the science that documents dramatic changes in climate throughout the epochs that long predate the appearance of mankind.”

Some of the speakers who took part in the conference and presented evidence to refute much of the United Nations claims on climate change that are embraced by Ocasio-Cortez and others included Roy Spencer, Roger Bezdek, Myron Ebell, Patrick Michaels, and Lord Christopher Monckton, former adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a mathematician who has published in peer-reviewed climate journals.

McClintock concluded his remarks at the conference by praising all of the scientists and others at the event.

“Those future generations to come will remember with gratitude and admiration that there were organizations like Heartland and faithful servants of true science as those who are gathered here today willing to endure the injustices and excesses of political demagoguery to lead us out of the darkness of this hysteria and into the light of the bright future that our advancing technology and freedom can and will deliver if we let them,” McClintock said.


Bangladesh wants Australia's coal for new power stations

Bangladesh is urging Australia to take advantage of an "enormous opportunity" to export coal and liquefied natural gas to the developing country, which is experiencing surging demand for the fossil fuels.

The country of about 165 million people has a slew of coal-fired power stations coming online over the next five years and will be importing about 45 million tonnes of coal by 2025, worth a predicted $4 billion to $5 billion annually.

"There is enormous opportunity for export of Australian coal and LNG to Bangladesh given Bangladesh's sustained energy demand," the Bangladesh high commissioner to Australia, Sufiur Rahman, said on Monday. "If these are added to the traditional traded items, Bangladesh could emerge as a major trading partner of Australia soon."

Mr Rahman called for a greater policy focus from the Australian government on the export opportunity and stronger private sector relationships to facilitate the trade.

According to figures provided by the Bangladeshi high commission, about 40 million tonnes of the country's predicted demand in 2025 will be for thermal coal while 5 million will be coking coal, used in steel production.

Bangladesh currently sources the bulk of its coal from Indonesia, South Africa and India but Australia is seen as a supplier of a high-quality, efficient product.

The Bangladeshi market could present a valuable opportunity for the coal industry as exports to China falter. The Chinese government has been subjecting Australian coal to tighter import restrictions, with some analysts fearing political tensions between Beijing and Canberra are to blame.

Australia's coal exports were worth almost $70 billion in 2018-19, with Japan, China and South Korea the major destinations.



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


Monday, July 29, 2019

Numerous Studies Confirm Geothermal Heat Melting Greenland Ice Sheet

Yet another major research study, five if you’re counting, has concluded that accelerated melting at the base of Greenland’s glacial ice sheet is from anomalously high geothermal heat.

High heat flow, according to the combined areas of the four previous studies (NASA, Aarhus University, University of Kansas, University of Maryland), is present beneath 50% of the world’s second-largest ice sheet as shown in Figure 2 (cross-hatched red).

Also of interest in Figure 2 are outlines of above-sea-level high-bedrock heat-flow areas bordering Greenland, specifically the Svalbard Islands Hotspot (red hatched) and the Iceland Mantle Plume (red hatched), which are both fueled by hot molten lava and heat flow from the deep inner earth reaching the Mid-Arctic Spreading Center  (black hatched) fault system.

The reader is directed to previous Climate Change Dispatch articles that summarize the results of these four research studies and their impact on Arctic climate and climate-related events here, here, here, and here.

Now onto the discussion of the just-released research study by the University of Lancaster and University of Sheffield. Research that established for the very first time the existence of an estimated fifty-four subglacial lakes beneath Greenland’s vast glacial ice sheet.

Study researchers attributed the generation of these lakes to numerous factors, most notably geothermal high-bedrock heat flow that the authors term “enhanced geothermal heat flux.”

This study is of special interest because it provides detailed information that can be utilized to formulate a detailed explanation of exactly how bedrock heat flow generates Greenland’s subglacial lakes:

"All the various types of subglacial lakes highlighted in Figure 1 are located in long, linear bedrock valleys. This geological configuration is indicative of valley generation by long, linear faults, some of which uplift long, linear hills and others which act to down drop long, linear valleys. This very common geological process acts to form long, linear water catchment basins worldwide.

It is here we argue that these long, linear fractured fault planes, especially the very active ones, tap downward into deep and thereby higher temperature geothermally heated rocks. This acts to provide a vertical conduit for this elevated heat area upward onto areas adjacent to the fault plane / overlying glacial ice interfaces. Heat flow that acts to bottom-melt glacial ice that supplies meltwater to fill four-way closed catchment basins.

The researchers so-called “isolated” subglacial lakes designation (Figure 1) is an admission that they could not establish a connection of subglacial lakes to overlying glacial ice surface meltwater. It is here hypothesized that this so-called isolation is an indication of areas where the fault induced heat flow has not yet punched upward to the glacial ice / atmospheric interface. Non-isolated long linear subglacial lakes with a connection to the glacial ice / atmospheric interface are areas where the fault induced heat flow aided by fault induced fracturing of the overlying ice has punched through to the glacial ice / atmospheric interface.

Further proof of fault involvement in subglacial lake development is demonstrated on the researchers’ Figure 3, which illustrates the long linear straight alignment of multiple subglacial lakes (red line) which perfectly match known fault trends (red line) in this area."

In summary, it’s way past time for the media, responsible scientific organizations, and political entities seeking the truth to step forward and inform the public of the significant, dominant role of Greenland’s extensive geothermal heat flow in melting glacial ice.

Silence by these entities is no longer a truthful option because it indirectly supports the notion that manmade atmospheric warming is the 100% proven cause.  It’s not.


The folly of “climate emergency”

A recent letter to the Editor by Mr. Boyd Walker called on the Alexandria City Council to declare a “Climate Emergency”, which would mirror a resolution recently passed by the Alexandria Democratic Committee.

There is so much misinformation, disinformation, misunderstanding and blind obeisance to climate alarmism orthodoxy in this letter that one hardly knows where to start in response.

But let’s give it a try. We’ll start with some undisputed facts, which are supported by hundreds of well researched studies and thousands of scientists (not Hollywood celebrities, politicians, and grant-seeking organizations).

First, there is a natural cycle of variability in the Earth’s climate, driven by variations in the output of the Sun, the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, and other factors that have nothing to do with human activity.

Fifteen thousand years ago the Earth was a very cold place, with glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere covering all of Canada, and down the Eastern seaboard, to the south of New York City. Then the Earth, for unknown reasons – but certainly not man-made nor having anything to do with atmospheric CO₂ – rapidly warmed, and the retreating ice left Long Island, Cape Cod and the Great Lakes, as its’ residue.

We are now in a period between the last Glacier, and the one which will surely come in the future, with brief periods of warmth (such as the Medieval Warm Period a thousand years ago, when grapes grew in England, and the Vikings colonized Newfoundland) and cooler periods (such as the Little Ice Age, 300 years ago, when the Thames in England froze over.)

The climate is presently in a period of stasis, with the temperature holding relatively stable over the last 30 years, despite an increase in CO₂. But the climate will change. It always does. Perhaps warmer. Perhaps cooler. And man has nothing to do with it.

Second, 300 million years ago, life on Earth was rich with plant and animal life. Atmospheric CO₂ then was 5,000 parts per million (ppm). It is now just 410 ppm. At the rate CO₂ is increasing, it will take over 200 years to reach historical levels.

Yet the alarmists want us to believe that shortly (they refuse to define exactly when) the Earth will cross a CO₂ “tipping point” which will cause the Earth to burn to a crisp. The so-called “tipping point” is the latest ludicrous invention of the scaremongers, right up there with “catastrophic” weather, in their attempt to sell a bizarre and nonsensical theory.

Third, extensive studies of the Earth’s polar ice cores establish that over the last 400 millennia increases in CO₂ follow, and do not precede, a warming of the Earth. Thus, CO₂ has not been, and cannot be, a causative factor of global warming.

But alarmists are not interested in facts, or science, but rather in group think and demonizing their opponents, therefore cloaking their arguments in name calling (such as labeling climate realists as “deniers”) or invective (realists do not want to “save the planet” – as if the human species possibly could).

So, Mr. Walker wants the City Council to follow the Alexandria Democratic Committee in declaring a “climate emergency”. If the Democratic Committee has decided to pass such a do-nothing, meaningless, pat-yourself-on-the back, virtue signaling, measure – fine. Go for it. But the City Council represents all Alexandria citizens, not just the true believers of climate alarmism, and it would be well advised to decline the invitation.

Instead, I respectfully suggest that the City Council address matters over which it actually has some measure of control, such as the plague of scooters which has descended on Alexandria out of nowhere, like some kind of electric locusts, littering our town and likely paving the way for a tragic accident in the future.


Blown away by wind farm “capacity” versus actual output

Promises, promises. We’re constantly being blown away with the growing capacity of wind farms to provide renewable energy, but they’ve yet to produce anywhere near their projected capacity. Compounding their lack of production, is the intermittency of what they produce.

Let’s be clear about what that means. First, it’s not renewable energy, it’s only renewable electricity, more accurately its only intermittent electricity. Renewables have been the primary driver for residents of Germany, Australia, and California behind the high costs of electricity. Second and most important is, electricity alone is unable to support militaries, aviation, and merchant ships, and all the transportation infrastructure that support commerce.

In Australia, they’re losing businesses, jobs, and money – the new definition of madness that’s becoming laughable stuff. Australians have become increasingly tired and frustrated with the wind movement. As such, voters went to the polls at their 2019 Federal Election, billed as a referendum on ‘Climate Change’, and voiced their opinions.

The Aussie Green/Labor Alliance promised an all wind and sun powered future with across the board subsidies for electric vehicles and household battery installations, subsidies for wind turbines, and subsidies for solar panels, and a crippling carbon dioxide gas tax, dressed up as a CO2 emissions reduction target, and an elevated directive for new cars to be electric.

The top-billed reason Green/Labor was supposed to fare so well at the polls, was Australians are, apparently, spending their every waking hour fretting about carbon dioxide gas and believing windmills and solar panels will save the day. Well, apparently not – Green/Labor duly lost the ‘unlosable’ election.

Australia has a the total 6,558MW of wind farm generating capacity, the equivalent of three 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Plants, spread from Far North Queensland, through NSW, across Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Despite that huge capacity, actual production has varied widely from a low of 400 MW to a high of 4,400 MW. Plus, all that actual production is intermittent electricity.

California is following Germany and Australia by phasing out its nuclear reactors, which have generated continuous uninterrupted zero emission electricity, in favor of intermittent electricity from wind and solar. In 2013 California shutdown the continuous nuclear facility of SCE’s San Onofre Generating Station which generated 2,200 megawatts of power and will be closing PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s 2,160 megawatts of power in 2024.

The overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2018 reached 597 Gigawatt according to preliminary wind power statistics published by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA)   All wind turbines installed capacity by end of 2018 will cover only 6% of the global electricity demand with actual production significantly less than rated capacity, and that’s only intermittent electricity.

Judging from the headlines, the world is on track to ratchet up renewable electricity and begin the rapid scale-down and ultimate phase-out of fossil fuels. Most energy analysts consider the fossil-fuel phase-out to be a scientific, economic and political fantasy, akin to levitation and time travel, but somehow the movement keeps making news.

The sad part is the ratchetting up renewables is not the call of energy analyst specialists, it’s the call of elected government officials and appointed government personnel supporting their decisions with less than accurate information.

Bear with me as we look at some energy numbers. Based on data, in 2018 the world consumed 11,865 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe)

You might ask what is an MTOE? Well, it a unit of energy measurement. One million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe) is equal to the following alternatives for electricity generation:

Fifteen hundred, YES 1,500 – 2MW wind turbines equals one mtoe, or

Fourteen million, YES 14,000,000 – 295W solar panels equals one mtoe

Carbon-free energy (electricity) consumption (wind, solar, and nuclear) is at 14.4 percent of total global consumption. The other 85.6% of the energy market needs to be captured by carbon-free sources by 2050. That means we’ve got 11,161 days to achieve net zero fossil free usage by then.

Thus, the above represents the amount of carbon free energy needed to be deployed every day, yes, EVERY DAY, for each of those 11,161 remaining days until 2050 to replace fossil fuels in order to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The staggering bad news is that the above example is only what’s needed to replace current oil usage, as the example does not include new consumption especially from the 2.7 billion residents of China and India that are just starting to board the energy train and enjoy the lifestyles that energy and the products manufactured from those deep earth minerals/fuels most of the rest of the world is presently enjoying.

Seems obvious that we cannot rely on wind and solar expected outputs as they can realistically only provide a fraction of their capacity and then, only do it intermittently. Such intermittency requires fossil fuel backup for continuous uninterruptable electricity.

While everyone improves their efficient use of energy and implements conservation to the best of their abilities, the world needs to use the time to diligently develop new technologies to find an energy source or sources that are similar or superior to what deep earth minerals/fuels have been providing civilization. Hopefully those new sources will be abundant, and affordable.


British Public Faces Huge Electricity Price Rises To Bail Out Wind Farms

The British public is facing a doubling of electricity prices to bail out new wind farms. That’s according to Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, who has analysed the latest data for wind farms coming on stream in the next few years.
“A number of large wind farms have contracts to supply power at extraordinarily low prices”, says Hughes. “But the cost and performance data suggest that they will be unable to cover their costs”.

Professor Hughes has compared Moray East – one of the new wind farms concerned – to a similar one that opened recently:

“Moray East, currently under construction in northern Scotland, and Beatrice, which came on stream just a few months ago, use very similar turbines and are situated just next door to each other. There is nothing about Beatrice to suggest that costs or performance are out of the ordinary, yet it has a strike price nearly three times that of Moray East.”

According to Professor Hughes, the operators of Moray East will need to at least double their selling price if they are to break even. He says they are playing a high-stakes poker game with the government, with the government as patsy:

“They are probably gambling that if they threaten to go bust, the government will be forced to raise carbon taxes sharply. This will push market prices up, and the operators will simply walk away from their agreed contracts and trade at the new prices”.

This means that instead of seeing cheap renewables, the consumer will be hit by huge electricity price rises.  “There is a real possibility that we see the public take to the streets, just as the gilets jaunes are doing in France” says Professor Hughes.


Australian climate change protester is fined $61,000 after attaching herself to a barrel filled with concrete, shutting down a railway for hours

A climate change activist has been handed down a whopping $61,000 fine after attaching herself to a 500 kilogram oil drum, obstructing railway services for hours.

Brisbane protester Alice Wicks, 26, blocked all coal trains heading to the Port of Brisbane for five hours during a protest in Wynnum West on April 19.

The drum was weighed down with concrete, and she was pictured squatting next to it, her hand appearing to be inside. 

A banner behind her read: 'STAND in the way of EXTINCTION'.

Ms Wicks's actions temporarily shut down the railway line, and  after she was released from the barrel, she was rushed to hospital suffering hypothermia. 

On Monday, the Wynnum Magistrates Court ordered Ms Wicks to pay $61,000 to Queensland Rail after she pleaded guilty to the charges of trespass on a railway, obstructing a railway and obstructing police.

She was placed on a good behaviour bond, but the court found Queensland Rail was the victim of her actions and she has been ordered to pay the massive fine in compensation, The Courier Mail reported.

The activist has been protesting for the past three years, and works in the environmental sector.  'I took this action because I have exhausted all other avenues for demanding action on the climate crisis,' Ms Wicks was quoted in Greenleft Weekly.

'The permafrost has melted 70 years ahead of scientist's predictions. We need to act now.' 'It's clear that the state is cracking down on anyone who tries to shed light on this corrupt system', Wicks 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


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Record heat envelops Europe

You thought that referred to this month?  Note the date below

As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun

Automakers Adopt CA's Rigged Fuel Standards

California seeks to pressure Trump's EPA with its own efficiency standards for the entire country.   

Four auto companies — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW of North America — recently joined together to sign a deal with California to meet its higher fuel-efficiency standards rather than the new and lower efficiency standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Under President Donald Trump, the EPA plans to roll back the Obama administration’s mandated fuel-efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon for new vehicles by 2025 down to 37 miles per gallon. Under the California deal, the auto manufactures would need to meet an efficiency standard of 51 miles per gallon by 2026.

It’s clear that the four auto companies’ objective here is to pressure the Trump administration into adopting California’s standard so as to eliminate having to manufacture vehicles with differing standards for two markets. In other words, they are seeking to force a single, higher fuel-efficiency standard upon all automakers.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, is seeking to revoke California’s long-running authority to set not just its own clean-air standards, something the federal government has long allowed, but effectively set the standard for the whole nation. White House spokesman Judd Deere emphasized, “The federal government, not a single state, should set this standard.”

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud criticized the automakers’ deal with California, stating, “This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers.”

This is an interesting fight that upon first glance looks like a federalism battle. But, again, the real issue is that of California seeking to set fuel-efficiency standards for the entire country. Any standard with which all states must comply should be set by the federal government — if there’s any federal authority for such a standard, which is another matter. California, ironically, wants it both ways — the freedom to set its own standards and at the same time reject the federal government’s authority over national interstate regulations.

Meanwhile, these automakers are free to exceed the EPA fuel-efficiency standards should they choose and if the market demands. However, seeking to force all auto companies into meeting higher standards via government diktat simply because they believe it prevents the competition from taking advantage is not an embrace of free-market principles.


NEW BOOK: The Rise and Fall of the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change

by Rex J. Fleming (Author)

This book provides a complete review of the role of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and reveals detailed information about the subject of climate change.  Many different science disciplines are visited and discussed and each area is introduced with a brief summary written to appeal to a broader audience.  The logic of CO2 involvement in changing the climate is investigated from every perspective: reviewing the historical data record of Ice Ages with vast ice sheets, noting the interglacial periods of little or no ice, examining in further detail the 20th century data record and evaluating the radiation role of CO2 in the atmosphere.  The radiation calculations, using the appropriate equations and data are reviewed in great detail. The results of this review and examination reveal no role of CO2 in any change of the Earth’s climate.


AUTHOR BACKGROUND:  Dr. Rex J. Fleming is a mathematician with a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the U. of Michigan. He has over 50 years of experience as a scientist and manager in weather and climate research. He has published peer reviewed scientific papers from 1971 to 2018. He has represented the Unites States of America at several international science meetings, including as the Chief Delegate at the First United States Ocean Climate Delegation to the People’s Republic of China in 1982. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award (1980) for outstanding achievement in directing the U.S. role in the Global Weather Experiment (FGGE). He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (1982) for contributions to atmospheric science. From his retired position as a consultant in the aerospace business he has used his own funds to carry out research on climate issues.

A crackdown on working from home is pushing the EPA's workforce in Boston to the brink

The poor petals!

The Trump administration's disregard for the Environmental Protection Agency's mission has riled many agency veterans, particularly when it comes to sustainability and climate change. But a new crackdown on working from home is pushing the already beleaguered workforce in Boston to the brink.

"There's a lot of things this administration has done that makes it difficult to work here, but this is the first thing that's really hit staff on a personal level," said a public liaison for superfund site cleanups who moved to Exeter, N.H. - a nearly two-hour train ride from Boston - in part because of her ability to work from home two days a week, which allows her to pick up her 2-year-old from day care.

Like other EPA employees who talked to the Globe, she asked that her name not be used.

The directive has left some staff members scrambling to find last-minute help with child care, the employee said. Others are looking for new jobs.

"This could be the last straw," she said.

The new policy on remote work requires that, as of Aug. 4, the 10,000 EPA employees around the country who are members of the American Federation of Government Employees must be in the office at least four days a week, including those with compressed work schedules. The directive is part of a widespread attempt to reduce the federal workforce by eroding workers' rights and driving out career employees who may disagree with President Trump's beliefs, labor analysts say.

The limits on remote work, which was previously allowed two days a week, are part of a new contract that management refers to as a collective bargaining agreement and the union, which was not involved in any bargaining, calls an illegal "unilateral edict." The contract also puts new restrictions on union activity, curtailing the amount of time union representatives can spend helping employees during the workday; prohibits union officials from using EPA office space and e-mail addresses for official union work; limits the grievance process; and makes it easier for the agency to fire and discipline workers.

These restrictions align with three executive orders issued by Trump in 2018 to curb the power of federal unions. With these orders being challenged in court, labor analysts say, the administration appears to be trying to instead implement them agency by agency.

Similar contract fights are roiling other government agencies, along with directives that labor analysts say are intended to weaken and reduce the government workforce, such as moving two Department of Agriculture scientific offices from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City and relocating the majority of the staff at Bureau of Land Management headquarters from D.C. to west of the Rockies.

Two-thirds of the roughly 400 employees affected by the USDA move to the Kansas City area have said they would not move, according to the department.

EPA employees are well aware of Trump's disdain for their agency. During his presidential campaign, Trump said he wanted to eliminate the EPA; after he was elected, officials talked of reducing the workforce by half.

Boston EPA employees held a rally July 16 to protest the policy changes, and railed at managers during a meeting the same day. The fact that the agency did not provide any explanation about their decision to reduce telework, simply saying it was going to improve efficiency, infuriated the staff. "To not provide any evidence in a science organization is not acceptable," one person said, according to employees in the meeting.

In the Boston office, union president Steve Calder estimates that around 90 percent of the 450 employees in his bargaining unit work from home one or two days a week. Those who work four days a week will no longer be allowed to work from home at all.

"Morale is in the toilet," said Calder, noting that some workers are blaming the union for the loss of remote work days because it refused to negotiate. "The Trump administration loves chaos. . . . That's part of their MO: chaos, infighting, fear."

Talks between the EPA and the union ground to a halt in mid-June, when AFGE filed a grievance over the agency's effort to renegotiate the entire contract and walked away from the bargaining table. On July 8, the EPA implemented a new contract, a spokesperson said, "as is the agency's right following the union's refusal to bargain."

"The contract provides more accountability and efficiency in dealings between the union, employees, and management, consistent with the direction set by the Administration," the spokesperson said.

Already, so many longtime employees have left the EPA nationwide that there is a significant experience gap among the ranks, according to a scientist in the Boston office. And the recent changes will only add to the brain drain. "There will be more longer term damage in the loss of institutional knowledge," she said.

And that is exactly the point, said David Madland, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. Anyone who has scientific evidence showing that climate change is caused by humans and is capable of causing significant harm, for instance, is a threat to Trump's beliefs, Madland said. Earlier this month, a State Department intelligence analyst resigned after the White House blocked parts of his written testimony to Congress citing evidence that climate change is a threat to national security.

"By weakening unions and undermining expertise, it gives Trump greater power to do what he wants without anyone having the ability to challenge him on it," Madland said.

But according to John York, a policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, federal unions are in need of reform. Public sector employees already have more statutory protections than workers in the private sector, he said.

Federal unions are pushing back particularly hard since the Supreme Court's Janus decision, he said, which reduced unions' ability to collect fees from workers and put them on the defensive.

"Many of the forgotten men in Trump's base see federal employees as more protected, higher paid, less hard-working than they are," said York, who nonetheless insisted that the union changes were not politically motivated. "I think Trump's efforts are trying to get federal personnel practices more in line with the rest of the labor market."

An attorney at the Boston EPA office noted that, like other employees, she could have made more money in the private sector. But, in addition to believing in the mission, the attorney valued the benefits and flexibility of working for the government. Now all of that is under fire.

The administration's attitude seems to be: "We're going to make it difficult for you to carry out your mission of using science and the law to protect the environment," said the attorney, who lives an hour south of Boston and had been planning to increase her remote-work schedule so she could do more day care drop-offs and pickups. "And now we're also going to make it difficult for you to spend time with your families."

The clampdown at the EPA is part of an "unmistakable pattern" of hostility toward public servants, said Sharon Block, a former labor adviser to former president Barack Obama who runs the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

And the repercussions could go far beyond the current workforce.

"There's just a point at which you can't help but impact the level of service," she said, "when you've so degraded those who provide the service."


Australia's carbon sacrifice is pointless

Imagine a librarian sitting in the corner of her library, wishing that her noisy library was quiet. But the only thing she does to make this happen is to be quiet herself.

There might be dozens of people scattered around the library, but she wouldn't try to work out where the noise was coming from. Nor would she ask the noisy patrons to keep it down, perhaps by persuading them of the benefits of a quiet library.

She would simply sit in her corner, quietly telling herself she was doing the right thing and setting a good example.

This recipe for frustration and failure is akin to Australia's approach to greenhouse gas emissions. While we sit in our corner of the world, promising ourselves to reduce our emissions over the decade ahead, the rest of the world increases theirs.

Even using the rosiest projections, just the increase in global emissions will be double Australia's total emissions in the decade ahead. So even if Australia disappeared – twice – global emissions would still rise.

It's as if the librarian sewed her lips together, yet still the noise in the library became deafening.

If we were genuinely concerned about global emissions, a good start would surely be to establish which countries are set to increase their emissions, particularly if those countries are already big emitters.

In Senate Estimates, I have been asking the bureaucrats in Canberra about the projected emissions of big emitters over the coming decade. Anyone who thinks climate change is our greatest moral challenge would have found the replies disappointing.

The bureaucrats didn't know. Many of the world's biggest emitters haven't bothered to advise the rest of the world how much their emissions are expected to rise over the coming decade. And it seems Australia has not only failed to seek an answer to this basic question but has also not made its own projections.

Others estimate that China, whose annual emissions in recent years were nearly 12 gigatonnes, might come close to doubling its emissions over the next decade. India, whose annual emissions have recently exceeded three gigatonnes, might double its emissions too. And countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, each with much bigger annual emissions than Australia's half a gigatonne, also fail to report their likely emission increases.

And it seems, at least from outward appearances, that our governments and bureaucrats don't care.

Pointless going it alone

It's as if our librarian won't even wander the aisles to see who the noisiest patrons are. Or perhaps she secretly thinks the patrons have a right to make as much noise as they want. Yet, if this is the case, the library is destined to be noisy and it is pointless for the librarian to take a vow of silence.

The greenhouse effect is a global phenomenon. We don't have big screens at our borders keeping Australia's emissions in and China or India's emissions out. Emissions from any one country swirl around the globe. If anything is to be done about the greenhouse effect, it has to involve the major emitters. It is quite pointless for Australia to reduce its emissions unless they do too.

It is farcical that Australia is engaged in an acrimonious debate about which side of politics is doing enough to combat climate change. Australia's commitments, no matter what anyone thinks of them, are quite pointless unless they are conditional on action by the world's big emitters. And of course, the big emitters are barely even aware of Australia's efforts, let alone influenced by them.

Nonetheless, the cost of implementing Australia's commitments is far from trivial. We have world-record electricity prices and a precarious supply situation as a result of policies discouraging new fossil-fuels-based generation. Thousands of jobs in energy-intensive industries are heading overseas and even more depend on whether we develop or expand coal mines.

And despite being opposed to a carbon tax, on Monday the Coalition government committed $2 billion of taxpayers' funds to paying emitters to emit less than some hypothetical benchmark. The money, naturally enough, will come from tax revenue.

Debating Australia's emissions policy while ignoring what is happening in the rest of the world is nonsensical. And it is made worse by the fact that our experts in Canberra, who recommend policy to the government, are barely even aware of what else is happening in the world.



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