Sunday, August 04, 2019

One climate crisis disaster happening every week, UN warns

No control group!  More junk science from the Greenies.  How do we know this is unusual?

Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, though most draw little international attention and work is urgently needed to prepare developing countries for the profound impacts, the UN has warned.

Catastrophes such as cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and the drought afflicting India make headlines around the world. But large numbers of “lower impact events” that are causing death, displacement and suffering are occurring much faster than predicted, said Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction. “This is not about the future, this is about today.”

This means that adapting to the climate crisis could no longer be seen as a long-term problem, but one that needed investment now, she said. “People need to talk more about adaptation and resilience.”

Estimates put the cost of climate-related disasters at $520bn a year, while the additional cost of building infrastructure that is resistant to the effects of global heating is only about 3%, or $2.7tn in total over the next 20 years.

Mizutori said: “This is not a lot of money [in the context of infrastructure spending], but investors have not been doing enough. Resilience needs to become a commodity that people will pay for.” That would mean normalising the standards for new infrastructure, such as housing, road and rail networks, factories, power and water supply networks, so that they were less vulnerable to the effects of floods, droughts, storms and extreme weather.

Until now, most of the focus of work on the climate crisis has been on “mitigation” – jargon for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and not to be confused with mitigating the effects of the climate crisis. The question of adapting to its effects has taken a distant second place, in part because activists and scientists were concerned for years that people would gain a false complacency that we need not cut emissions as we could adapt to the effects instead, and also because while cutting emissions could be clearly measured, the question of adapting or increasing resilience was harder to pin down.

Mizutori said the time for such arguments had ran out. “We talk about a climate emergency and a climate crisis, but if we cannot confront this [issue of adapting to the effects] we will not survive,” she told the Guardian. “We need to look at the risks of not investing in resilience.”

Many of the lower-impact disasters would be preventable if people had early warnings of severe weather, better infrastructure such as flood defences or access to water in case of drought, and governments had more awareness of which areas were most vulnerable.

Nor is this a problem confined to the developing world, she said, as the recent forest fires in the US and Europe’s latest heatwave had shown. Rich countries also face a challenge to adapt their infrastructure and ways of protecting people from disaster.

“Nature-based solutions”, such as mangrove swamps, forests and wetlands which could form natural barriers to flooding should be a priority, said Mizutori. A further key problem is how to protect people in informal settlements, or slums, which are more vulnerable than planned cities. The most vulnerable people are the poor, women, children, the elderly, the disabled and displaced, and many of these people live in informal settlements without access to basic amenities.

Regulations on building standards must also be updated for the climate crisis and properly enforced, she said. One of the governance issues cited by Mizutori was that while responsibility for the climate crisis and greenhouse gas emissions was usually held in one ministry, such as the economics, environment or energy department, responsibility for infrastructure and people’s protection was held elsewhere in government.

“We need to take a more holistic view of the risks,” she said.


Greenland Lost 217 Billion Tons of Ice Last Month

How surprising that they do not mention the extensive geothermal activity  in Greenland below

A staggering 217 billion tons (197 billion metric tons) of meltwater flowed off of Greenland's ice sheet into the Atlantic Ocean this July. The worst day of melting was July 31, when 11 billion tons (10 billion metric tons) of melted ice poured into the ocean.

This massive thaw represents some of the worst melting since 2012, according to The Washington Post. That year, 97% of the Greenland ice sheet experienced melting. This year, so far, 56% of the ice sheet has melted, but temperatures — 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average — have been higher than during the 2012 heat wave. All told, this July's melt alone was enough to raise global average sea levels by 0.02 inches (0.5 millimeters), according to the Post.

"This might seem inconsequential, but every increment of sea-level rise provides a higher launchpad for storms to more easily flood coastal infrastructure, such as New York's subway system, parts of which flooded during Hurricane Sandy in 2012," Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow reported in the Post. "Think of a basketball game being played on a court whose floor is gradually rising, making it easier for even shorter players to dunk the ball." [8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World]

That melting occurred after a heat wave that had swept across Europe in July, setting temperature records in France, settled over Greenland. And June was the hottest June ever recorded the world over. This massive global warming coincides with a drastic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, to amounts not seen in the last 800,000 years. At the same time, part of Greenland is on fire.

In the long term, climate change is expected to cause even more-rapid melting — melting that is even more extreme than predicted by even the worst-case models just a few years ago. That will mean worsening storms, swamped coastlines and millions of climate refugees. At the same time, the heat that's melting all that ice is expected to make vast regions of the world uninhabitable for parts of the year, as temperatures climb beyond what the human body can handle.

Meanwhile, in Greenland, the heat wave is still going on.


How Faulty Assumptions in Climate Predictions Could Mean Big Costs for Americans

Family incomes will take a severe hit and household electricity prices will jump rapidly if policymakers use the “social cost of carbon” to justify new environmental regulations, a Heritage Foundation statistician warned during a climate change conference in Washington.

Since computer climate models are grounded in assumptions about the impact of carbon dioxide emissions, the results “can be all over the map,” Kevin Dayaratna said at the Heartland Institute’s conference.

These results then can be “rigged by policymakers” to achieve their desired results, Dayaratna said during his presentation.

The Heartland Institute is a libertarian, free-market think tank based in Illinois. Its 13th International Conference on Climate Change was held July 25 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Dayaratna, a senior statistician and research programmer at The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, was part of a panel discussion on “Energy and Climate Economics” that probed the costs of the Green New Deal and the benefits of fossil fuels.

The statistical models used by the Obama administration to set regulatory policy are flawed because they are highly prone to user manipulation, Dayaratna told conferees.

In fact, only one of the three models in use during the Obama years considered potential benefits, but did so with “outdated assumptions,” he said.

President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency defined the social cost of carbon as the “economic damages per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions.”

Climate models seek to measure the long-term impact of carbon dioxide emissions. Dayaratna and his team at Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis adapted and tested two of the three models.

After making “very reasonable changes to the assumptions in the social cost of carbon,” Dayaratna said, they found that costs could drop dramatically anywhere from 40% to 200%. And under reasonable assumptions, he said, costs could become negative and thus net benefits to society.

 “The sheer fact that these models can be manipulated to get any result you want speaks volumes to their uselessness in regulatory policy and the danger of putting them into the hands of policymakers,” Dayaratna said.

The left’s proposed Green New Deal is the latest in a series of proposals aimed at restricting, and even eliminating, fossil fuel use to combat climate change.

On Feb. 7, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., introduced House Resolution 109 while Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced Senate Resolution 59. Both call for a “10-year national mobilization effort” to completely end the use of fossil fuels in the U.S. and transition the nation’s economy to so-called renewable energy sources.

But like other proposals before it, the Green New Deal is predicated on assumptions about the social cost of carbon that do not hold up under rigorous testing, Dayaratna said.

A Devastating Impact

Estimating the costs and benefits of the Green New Deal is challenging, Dayaratna said, because proponents have stated only “what their goals are” without outlining “any meaningful steps to achieve these goals.”

But in a recently published research paper assessing costs and benefits, Dayaratna and Heritage economist Nicolas Loris seize upon a carbon tax as one possible mechanism to achieve the Green New Deal’s policy goals. That’s partly because Ocasio-Cortez identifies the carbon tax as a possible option on her website.

The Heritage Energy Model used by Dayaratna and Loris in their study, which is based on U.S. Energy Information’s National Energy Model, also accounts for potential regulations imposed on the manufacturing industry.

What they found in their simulations of a “phased in” carbon tax is that by the time a $300-per-ton tax on carbon dioxide is reached, emissions would be reduced by only 58%.

The researchers found that a carbon tax, “coupled with government regulations and mandates,” would have a devastating impact on the American economy. By 2040, the Green New Deal would lead to an annual shortfall of 1.2 million jobs, “with a peak of more than 5.3 million jobs lost in 2023,” according to the paper.

Dayaratna and Loris also found that the typical family of four would lose an average of $8,000 in income every year, or more than $165,000 through 2040.

And, they concluded, the Green New Deal would make household electricity costs “skyrocket,” estimating these costs “would rapidly increase by well over 30%.”

In his presentation, Dayaratna stressed that the Green New Deal would not have any significant impact on the climate. Heritage’s models found that the planet would be only 0.2 degree Celsius cooler by the year 2100, and sea-level rise would slow by less than 2 centimeters.

‘Best President’ on Related Issues

Jim Lakely, communications director for the Heartland Institute, told The Daily Signal in an interview that the focus of this year’s conference was “a bit different” with Donald Trump in the White House:

The environmental left is unified in a way that it wasn’t before the election of Trump, because you now have issues on the table they didn’t expect to have on the table going back to October 2016. At that time, they felt like they had the wind at their back.

So, on our side, we felt we needed to be just as unified in our messaging and our goals. Trump is probably the best president we have had on our issues.

Other conference speakers included Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington. Ebell was part of a panel discussion called “Winning Public Policy Options.”

“For us, the Green New Deal is a winning public policy option, and it is going to be the gift that keeps on giving,” Ebell said.

But he also voiced concern that the Green New Deal is spurring some Republican lawmakers to proceed with their own version of “light green” proposals, so they can appear “moderate and reasonable.”

Republicans who may be inclined to support a carbon tax should pay heed to recent election results from across the globe that suggest they would pay a steep political price, Ebell told the audience.

Government figures in Australia and parts of Canada who have advanced their own version of a carbon tax have been voted out of office, he said. And in Washington state, which he described as “a rather green state,” voters defeated a carbon tax proposal.

Trump’s Success on Energy Front

“There is an alternative to the Green New Deal and it’s called the Trump deregulatory agenda, and it’s working,” Ebell said.

Thanks to Trump’s deregulatory policies and tax cuts, the U.S. economy is growing at a robust clip, he said.

Those parts of the country that “stagnated and declined” under the Bush and Obama administrations, including “heartland states,” are now the faster growing parts of the nation’s growing economy, Ebell said.

Ebell credited Trump for helping to unleash America’s oil and gas resources.

“President Trump has had success on the energy front,” he said. As a result of the shale, oil, and gas revolution and letting it loose, we are now the world’s largest producer of oil and gas.”

Ebell’s full talk may be viewed here.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute just released its own study in partnership with Power the Future, a nonprofit that advocates American energy jobs. It shows that the Green New Deal would cost households in Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania tens of thousands of dollars in higher costs for energy, housing, transportation, and shipping.

Dayaratna, the Heritage statistician, suggested that too many political figures lack a sufficient appreciation for what sensible energy policy means for average Americans.

“Energy is literally the fundamental building block of civilization,” Dayaratna said. “From enabling you to light up your home, from enabling you to drive your car, to enabling this very conference to operate. Energy has literally become the basis of anything and everything we do.”

“Unfortunately,” he said, “many people, particularly lawmakers, take the concept of energy for granted.”


Climate Change’s Fair-Weathered Friends

They may be driving hybrid cars and outlawing straws — but for all the anti-pollution celebrities, there seem to be even more environmental hypocrites. At this week’s “Google Camp,” a who’s who guest list is all converging on Sicily to talk about fighting climate change — completely ignoring the damage they did to the environment just to get there!

When Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Katy Perry hopped on a plane, you can bet it wasn’t commercial. According to the Post, the celebrities “were expected to show up in 114 private jets,” spewing, one estimate said, 784,000 kilograms of CO2 in the air. Those who didn’t fly, the reports announced, sailed — on their gigantic personal yachts. “Haven’t these people heard of tele-conferencing?” PJ Media’s Jim Treacher jabbed. “How much carbon do they need to spew into the atmosphere, just to lecture the rest of us peons about leaving the phone charger plugged in?”

And of course, this was just hours after the Democratic candidates ate up minute after minute on the debate stage insisting that in 12 years the earth will be toast. But if liberals actually believed that, do you think any of them would be living the kind of double-standard existence they are? Of course not. Here they are, asking to be put in power so they can pass laws that take away your pick-up truck, raise your utility rates, and ship off our cows, and all the while, they’re continuing their jet-setting ways.

If what they’re proposing was actually good for America and supportive of true freedom, why haven’t they already adopted what they want to impose on everyone else? Because climate change — like a lot of the liberal agenda — is about power. The Left can make all kinds of claims about America saving the planet and changing the weather patterns. But do you really think any government is capable of that? Sure, we can have either a positive or negative impact on the environment, air quality, or water quality — and we should keep moving toward those positive environmental advancements. But when it comes to climate change, you could give liberals all the power they are asking for — and maybe more — and we’ll still never be able to measure the effects of their policies.

And they want it that way! It means they make all of these promises, and no one will be able to verify if their actions ever actually led to any positive outcome. And if they’re challenged, they’ll just say they need more authority to restrict the freedoms of others.

If climate change were the existential threat the Left scares people into thinking that it is, then the tech gurus of Google could’ve easily saved the planet lots of carbon by doing their confab online. Be leery of those who want to adopt policies that they themselves are not currently willing to live by. If something is good for America, then the people who are advocating should be practicing it now.


Nuclear power to be examined in Australia for the first time in ten years

Australia could lift its ban on nuclear energy after the government’s Federal Energy Minister asked the Environment and Energy Committee to look into the use of nuclear power in Australia.

Nuclear is banned as a source of power and while Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor has confirmed Australia’s embargo on nuclear energy will remain, a parliamentary inquiry will revisit the issue and investigate “any future government’s consideration” into the topic.

According to the ABC, a 2006 report on nuclear power claimed Australia “could have up to 25 reactors providing over a third of the country’s electricity by 2050”.

“This will be the first inquiry into the use of nuclear power in Australia in more than a decade and is designed to consider the economic, environmental and safety implications of nuclear power,” Mr Taylor said in a letter to Environment and Energy Committee and Queensland LNP member Ted O’Brien on Friday.

“I am confident that your committee — involving all sides of politics — is the best way to consider this issue in a sensible way.”

The ABC reports “several Coalition backbenchers” supported the idea of nuclear energy, including Barnaby Joyce who suggested residents living near reactors could be offered free power.

“Clearly there are very passionate views on either side of this debate,” Mr O’Brien said.

“There are new and emerging forms of nuclear energy technology that are very different from the old smokestack reactors people tend to picture when they think nuclear energy and it’s on these newer technologies that we’ll focus.”

“Our job will be to determine the circumstances under which future Coalition or Labor governments might consider nuclear energy generation.”

Last month Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt and his Senate colleague James McGrath were reportedly behind the push, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

“I am not saying that there is a nuclear reactor coming to a shopping centre near you but we have to be able to investigate all options,” Mr Pitt told the newspaper.

“All I am calling for is an inquiry as to whether it’s a feasible option to ensure we are up to date with the latest information.”

During the federal election campaign Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had no plans to reverse the ban on nuclear energy, after earlier saying he’d be open to it if the sector paid its own way.

The inquiry is due to be completed by the end of the year.



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


No comments: