Thursday, August 15, 2019

Shocking Nasa images reveal how enormous Iceland glacier Okjokull has VANISHED in three decades thanks to soaring temperatures in the Arctic

Note the dog that didn't bark.  And it didn't bark for a good reason.  Iceland has huge amounts of volcanic heat that periodically bursts through to the surface. So that is why the people below did not claim that the glacial melting decribed was due to global warming.  It was most probably a result of Iceland's huge subterranean heat warming the land surface

Leftist writing routinely leaves pertinent information out so I hear another dog that didn't bark in the report below:  Any attempt at giving temperature statistics. From what I often see about the Arctic, the temperature changes there are often greatly at variance with global temperatures, indicating that Arctic and sub-Arctic temperatures are under substantial local rather than global influences. So did the temperatures that melted the subject glacier have anything in common with global temperatures?  Probably not

Shocking images released by NASA show how soaring temperatures in the Arctic have caused an enormous glacier in Iceland to melt - in just three decades.

The Okjökull glacier, which once measured six square miles (16 km²) and is known as Ok, has now completely vanished.

Images taken in 1986 show the glacier covering a huge mountainside in the west of Iceland but, in the latest photo, a tiny patch of ice is all that remains.

Icelanders call their nation the 'Land of Fire and Ice' for its other-worldly landscape of volcanoes and glaciers but warming global temperatures threaten the existence of the latter. OK  disappeared in 2014


The hidden costs of unreliable electricity

By Bill Gates

Think back to the last time you experienced a power outage. It probably wasn’t a great memory. Maybe it involved spending the evening in the dark without anything to do or spending a hot day without air conditioning. If the power was out for a long time, maybe even the food in your fridge began to spoil.

Your power probably came back within a couple minutes or hours. But for the nearly 1 billion people around the world who don’t have access to electricity—or whose access is so unreliable that they can never count on having power—an outage can go on for days or even weeks. And these outages are more than just an inconvenience. They can be deadly.

Many people without reliable access to electricity live in rural villages where even health clinics can’t count on having power. After an outage, doctors sometimes have no way of telling whether the life-saving vaccines in their refrigerators have spoiled. It can be even more stressful if a power outage occurs at night. Sometimes health workers have no choice but to treat patients by candlelight, or by the light of a mobile phone.

Even recharging a mobile phone is tricky when there isn’t electricity at home. It requires walking to a local store and paying 25 cents or more to plug the phone into a solar-powered outlet. That cost adds up fast. It’s actually hundreds of times more expensive to use charging stations than it is to charge a phone at home. But those without electricity don’t have an alternative. Mobile phones enable families to access services and business opportunities that improve their lives, so many pay whatever they have to in order to use their phones.

These hidden expenses are a daily reality for the nearly 1 billion people who live in energy poverty. That’s one reason why increasing access to electricity is critical to lifting the world’s poor out of poverty. The good news is that, since 2016, the number of people living without reliable electricity has dropped by more than 200 million. That’s two hundred million more people who can now study after sundown, use electronic appliances, and charge their phones at home.

At the same time, increased energy consumption means increased greenhouse gas emissions. Methods of generating electricity like coal and natural gas generate carbon dioxide, so unless we decarbonize the way we produce energy, emissions will continue to increase—and climate change will get worse—as energy consumption goes up.

The problem is that many of today’s low carbon energy technologies aren’t a viable alternative yet. While deploying wind and solar in many places around the world is going to be hugely important for tackling climate change, we need innovation in things like storage to make them realistic solutions for the world’s poorest. Plus, many people experiencing energy poverty live in areas without access to the kind of grids that are needed to make those technologies cheap and reliable enough to replace fossil fuels.

It’s important to remember that, even with an uptick in energy usage, people living in level 1 and 2 countries are responsible for a pretty modest share of the world’s emissions. If we’re going to stop climate change, the biggest changes will need to come from level 3 and 4 countries. But I believe we can tackle energy poverty and climate change at the same time by developing ways to make clean energy cheaper to produce, store, and transport. I recently wrote about several promising new solutions.

We want everyone—including the world’s poorest—to have access to cheap, reliable energy. I’m hopeful that innovations in energy technology will help us achieve that while paving the way to a zero-carbon future.


Trump ESA reforms emphasize species recovery over endless red tape

For decades, the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) has hovered like a giant Sword of Damocles over broad swaths of rural America. If some unfortunate farmer, rancher, fruit grower, or any other landowner was found to be harboring a threatened or endangered species on his or her property, all bureaucratic and litigation hell could break loose – and usually did.

Once bureaucrats at the Interior Department’s National Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) determined that an endangered critter or plant was on farmer Brown’s land, that land was subject to strict regulation that frequently meant financial ruin for the property owner.

Over time, a statute originally intended to save bison, condors, bald eagles, and the like morphed into a powerful legal instrument that environmentalists adroitly used to shut down any activity – farming, ranching, logging, mining, energy extraction – they didn’t like. Rural communities in the West bore the brunt of the assault. Even worse, the ESA provided no incentives for landowners to cooperate with government officials in helping species to recover.

Now, the Trump administration has rolled out long-overdue reforms to both ease the burdens on landowners and actually aid in the recovery of species. The new regulations will affect future listings and will have no effect on species already listed.

The administration’s actions target two sections of the ESA, 4 and 7, that have been at the center of the abuse. In section 4, the administration now stipulates that the criteria used in determining whether a species should be removed (delisted) from the endangered species list or reclassified from endangered to threatened or vice versa are the same as those used in adding a species to the list. This will keep officials at FWS and NMFS from arbitrarily adding criteria that keep species on the ESA list long after they have recovered.

Critical Habitat

Another crucial area of ESA section 4 undergoing much-needed clarification concerns critical habitat. The Trump regulations reinstate the requirement that areas where threatened or endangered species are present at the time of listing be evaluated first before unoccupied areas are considered. This reduces the potential regulatory burdens that results from designations where species are not present in an area.

In addition, the regulations impose a heightened standard for unoccupied areas to be designated as critical habitat. On top of the existing standard that the unoccupied habitat is essential to the conservation of the species, it must also, at the time of designation, contain one or more of the physical or biological features essential to the species’ conservation.

Climate change would still be considered in future listing decisions. But the role of notoriously unreliable climate models that forecast temperatures far into the future will be reduced. From now on, officials must make such determinations only into what is vaguely referred to as “the foreseeable future.”

The major regulatory change to section 7 of the ESA does away with a unilateral decision made by FWS several years ago that essentially treated threatened and endangered species the same way. The FWS policy, known as the “blanket rule,” was contrary to the original intent of the ESA, which clearly differentiated between threatened and endangered species. The NMFS never adopted the FWS policy. Now the Trump administration has put the two agencies’ policies in alignment by reinstating the different regulatory treatment of threatened and endangered species.

By any reasonable measure, the ESA has been an abject failure. Of the 1,661 species listed as threatened or endangered since 1973, only 3% have been recovered. Endless litigation has tied up resources that could have gone toward species recovery.

And speaking of litigation, more is on the way. The attorneys general of California and Massachusetts, along with a host of environmental groups, have already announced they will take the administration to court over its revisions to the ESA.


Plastic Bans Are Symbolism Over Substance
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau recently proposed a federal ban on certain single-use plastics, arguing, “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy.” As with similar measures in California, Hawaii, and New York, the proposed Canadian ban on plastics will harm consumers while providing very little benefit, even on Trudeau’s own terms.

The biggest problem for the plastic banners is that their measures (so far) apply to jurisdictions that have little to do with the ostensible problem. The biggest contributors to plastic in the ocean are China and Indonesia; a 2015 article in Science concluded that OECD countries contribute less than 5 percent of the plastic waste from land sources.

Another problem is that government bans come with unintended consequences. For example, research from earlier this year studied California’s ban on plastic bags and reported that “the elimination of 40 million pounds of plastic carryout bags [was] offset by a 12 million pound increase in trash bag purchases.” Because pet owners (for example) had been using their plastic bags from the grocery store to pick up after their animals, the ban simply forced them to buy plastic bags the old-fashioned way. Ironically, the California legislation led these people to stop recycling and reusing!

These naïve “direct assaults” on one environmental concern can also impede progress on other fronts. For example, if a store switches back to paper bags then this will mean more carbon dioxide emissions. Indeed, a 2011 UK government study found a consumer would need to use an allegedly “environmentally responsible” cotton tote bag 131 times in order for it to cause less environmental damage than the plastic bags it would replace.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s homage to “job creation” is also nonsensical. The rationale of work is that it makes people better off in exchange for our toil. If jobs are being “created” merely to comply with a largely arbitrary government edict, then they are pointless “busy work” of the type assigned in grade school by bored teachers. In a relatively free-market economy with flexible wages, everybody who wants a productive job can get one, especially in the long run. Government bans on plastic, or limitations on greenhouse gas emissions, induce artificial scarcity and “create jobs” in the same way that a ban on power tools would “create work”—and make humanity much poorer in the process.

Now if the benefits from plastic bans are largely illusory, the costs are quite real. For example, restricting single-use plastics such as forks and knives will increase the spread of disease, as people begin reusing metalware for their office lunches etc., rather than throwing out their plastic utensils after each meal. Likewise, if shoppers continue to use the same tote bag for their groceries, eventually they could be transporting their food in rich bacteria colonies, rather than the much more sanitary single-use plastic bags that are promptly discarded.

Yet besides these utilitarian concerns, there is the basic fact that plastic bags are very convenient, and so banning their use will make consumers worse off. After all, there is a reason grocery stores switched away from using paper bags and made plastic bags so ubiquitous. For those with long memories, we can appreciate the extra irony: The stores now switching back to paper bags are using thinner versions than when we were younger. While a strong adult with plastic bags could have carried an entire grocery run into the house in one trip, now with the weak paper bags, several trips are required—and that gallon of milk might rip the bag, so watch out.

The Canadian proposal to ban single-use plastics is yet another triumph of symbolism over substance: The measure will do virtually nothing to reduce plastic waste in the ocean and it won’t “help the economy.” However, what it will do, if enacted, is increase greenhouse gas emissions, increase the spread of disease, and greatly inconvenience consumers.


Climate protesters storm Garzweiler coalmine in Germany

Police in western Germany are removing climate change protesters from an open-cast coalmine after hundreds of them stormed the site. Activists broke through a police cordon on Saturday to get into the Garzweiler mine, in a campaign against fossil fuel use.

Many protesters are resisting attempts by police to clear the huge site.

Police have warned that the mine is not safe, and said some officers were hurt as they tried to hold back protesters.

Germany has vowed to go carbon neutral by 2050 but activists say this is not soon enough.

Recent surveys have shown that climate change tops a list of concerns in Germany, with the Green party polling alongside the governing Christian Democrats.

Police used pepper spray to try to stop activists from reaching the site. Each side accused the other of using unnecessary force.

Earlier, protesters temporarily blocked a railway line used to transport coal.

Some of the activists were among between 20,000 and 40,000 protesters who joined a demonstration on Friday in the city of Aachen in support of the school strike movement launched by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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